The first glimpse of the 2019 recreated season for the Stanford Cardinal was an impressive display of offensive and defensive prowess as the Cardinal defeated the San Jose State Spartans, 52-24. Stanford utilized a strong game plan and great effort on each side of the ball in their victory, improving to 1-0 on the year.
The Cardinal had to wait an extra week with the opening weekend bye on their schedule but the taste they gave to Stanford fans surely breathes life into even higher expectations for the recreated 2019 season.
K.J. Costello started the game at quarterback and played the entire first half of the contest. He finished the game completing 11-of-16 attempts for 172 yards and a touchdown with no blemishes on his stat sheet.
Costello and the Cardinal offense scored on their opening possession but went three-and-out on their next. Some fans chanted for Mills after the quick possession but after a blocked punt touchdown and a defensive stop in the red zone, Costello led an impressive 14-play drive to set up a field goal that gave Stanford an 18-3 lead.
Costello fit several throws into some tight windows and gave his playmakers every chance to make plays including this catch by TE Colby Parkinson, surrounded by four defenders.
San Jose State & Stanford trade field goals on possessions -- but the game's top offensive play has just happened. It was beautiful.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 25, 2020
Colby Parkinson comes down with this incredible contested catch in between four SJSU defenders! An important first down. pic.twitter.com/JPWEktrE2v
Parkinson finished the game with three catches for 58 yards, all three receptions moving the chains for first downs.
Costello’s most impressive moment of the game, however, came with :34 seconds left on the clock and SJSU having just closed the gap to 25-17. Costello moved the Cardinal offense down the field with ease, connecting on 5-of-5 passes for 74 yards, four first downs and a touchdown to WR Michael Wilson to take a 32-17 lead at the break.
That would be the last pass attempt, well, and last snap Costello would play in this one.
Davis Mills was inserted into the lineup after the break and to say his start went off the rails would be an understatement.
Mills misread coverage and threw a dig route into man coverage with a closing cornerback and saw his first pass attempt of the recreated 2019 season intercepted.
And we have our first Davis Mills sighting.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 25, 2020
His first pass attempt is...
Bailing out his quarterback, Andre Pryts intercepted the very next pass for Stanford and Mills quickly went to work to forget the interception.
Mills went three-and-out on his second drive but hit Connor Wedington on multiple first downs on his third drive, setting up a Mills to Osiris St. Brown 13-yard touchdown toss to open the lead up to 39-17 Cardinal.
Wedington led all pass-catchers with seven catches for 153 yards, 31 yards after the catch and eight targets in the game. Each of his seven receptions moved the chains for first downs as he put on a clinic with his route-running.
Connor Wedington turns his DB inside out, gets wide open for this 1D. pic.twitter.com/Baxk12hOOC— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 25, 2020
Mills finished the game with just one blemish, his first-attempt INT, and capped the game with an 8-for-9 mark for 140 yards, a touchdown and the pick.
The ground game got rolling as the game got out of reach for Stanford as Cameron Scarlett toted the rock 17 times for 106 yards and three scores himself. He churned our 74 yards after contact and broke four tackles in the outing.
On defense for Stanford, freshman CB Kyu Blu Kelly was dominant in coverage and limited receivers to very few yards while not missing a single tackle attempt. Thomas Booker recorded a whopping three tackles for a loss while Malik Antoine and Pryts recorded interceptions.
All-American candidate Paulson Adebo broke up three pass attempts and did have a costly pass interference penalty but was largely avoided in the second half by SJSU QB Josh Love.
The Cardinal improve to 1-0 on the season and will have an interesting dilemma on their hands with both of their quarterbacks seeing plus play in the season debut. Will head coach David Shaw stick with Costello for the second game or will he continue to rotate Mills in as well?
Game goes quick with backups in — Stanford beats San Jose State, 52-24.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) March 25, 2020
Full highlights: pic.twitter.com/hlMKUAqfr2
Only time will tell but at this point, 1-0 is a great starting point. Enjoy it responsibility at The Farm.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Cameron Scarlett, RB, Stanford
Defensive Player of the Game:
Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Thomas Booker, DE, Stanford
NCAA Football 14 WTF Moment:
Upon simulating the PAT attempt after the blocked punt touchdown, the CPU made the decision, randomly, to go for two, up 13-0. It worked, but certainly was an odd moment during the game.
Reminder, this is a fictional take on our recreation of the 2019 NCAA football season using last year’s updated rosters and playing the games in NCAA Football 14 on a Playstation3. For more information, check out our intro story.