Few purchases rival that of a jersey bought in the light of a beautiful sport’s moment. Allowing the crazed excitement of an incredible play or an unforgettable instant to dictate the acquisition of a players jersey is all part of this thing we call being a sports fan. In the spirit of such a moment, this is the jersey from week one I would buy in the heat of the moment.
The jersey belonging to the player who raised me to my feet the most, elevated my blood pressure consistently and gave me no choice but to invest in his numbers. This is the winner of the Compulsive Purchase Award- week four.
It was looking quite grim for the Stanford Cardinal, down 24-7 at halftime to the Oregon Ducks.
The Ducks were explosive on both sides of the line of scrimmage; getting their running game into the second level of Stanford’s defense, keeping the pocket clean for quarterback Justin Herbert and on the other side holding the Cardinal to 22 rushing yards in the first half.
But again, Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello found a way to shrug off the inefficiencies on the ground to lead his team past the Ducks in an overtime thriller.
Winner - K.J. Costello
Stat Line - 327 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and 73 percent completion percentage
As if they were coming out of a coma, the Cardinal jolted to their senses following an overturned touchdown from Ducks running back C.J. Verdell. The following play, Stanford burst through the offensive line, overtaking quarterback Justin Herbert and forcing a fumble. A fumble that linebacker Joey Alfieri took all the way to the house, swinging the momentum of a game that was dangerously close to becoming out of reach.
The defense finished with four sacks, seven tackles for loss and a key interception in overtime, springing to life and bogging down the Ducks offense, allowing seven points after halftime.
But what was truly impressive was the offensive production, led by Costello. Again, Costello was forced to shake off the one phase of Stanford’s football team that failed to come to life: the running game.
Love was able to net 48 yards in the second half (seven more than the first half) in another performance that failed to capture his dazzling 2017 season.
The speed of the Ducks linebackers refused to give up the edge, while the Stanford offensive line continued to struggle between the tackles. Another team found a way to hold down Love, a formula that would have crippled the 2017 Cardinal.
But Costello now has the ability and the right set of tools around him to carry the offense. The defense of the Ducks had the right plays drawn up, but Costello made the correct reads, putting the ball in the right spots without forcing throws or turning the rock over.
Costello threw to seven receivers in the passing attack, attacking with a myriad of positions. Hitting tight ends Kaden Smith and Colby Parkinson down the middle put stress on the safeties, who had to compensate for the miss matched nickel corners and linebackers. These throws, in turn, exposed the man to man coverage on the outside, letting Osiris St. Brown scar Oregon deep, while J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Trenton Irwin victimized the smaller corners in single coverage.
Costello reached all of them, speaking to both an understanding of the play schedule and a quarterback making through his reads to find the right receivers.
It was a qualification that separated Stanford from the playoff teams last season. A key piece they needed to make a run for the PAC-12 title, and beating the no. 20 team in the country goes a long way towards proving his metal.
Play that sealed the purchase -