Pac-10 Week 8 Notes and Observations: Stanford Cardinal
Stanford Cardinal 5-3 Overall (4-2 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Stanford 33 – Arizona State 14
Next Week’s Opponent: @Arizona
The big win over Arizona State couldn’t have come at a better time for Stanford, who had an excellent day on both sides of the ball. Coming off of two straight rough losses and with nothing but Top-25 opponents waiting on the other side of this week’s bye, Saturday’s game was a virtual must-win to get some confidence back and keep Stanford’s bowling hopes alive.
Stanford’s balanced attack had another great day, racking up 473 yards of total offense in as balanced an effort as you will see (236 yards through the air, 237 yards on the ground). Andrew Luck added another mistake-free day to his resume, going 17/28 with no interceptions or touchdowns.
All four touchdowns came on the ground; remarkably, four different ball carriers rushed for a touchdown; Toby Gerhart, Stepfan Taylor, FB Owen Marecic, and WR Jamal-Rashad Patterson. Gerhart led the way with 23 carries and 125 yards.
ASU’s defense is a top-notch unit, one of the best in the conference; so to see Stanford have the success they did against them is certainly a reassuring sign with the slew of big opponents coming up.
Defensively, the Cardinal had the best game they’ve had in weeks. Not only did they hold ASU to only 290 total yards, but shutting them out in the first half gave their offense the chance to put this one out of reach early. The Sun Devils’ offense leaves plenty to be desired, but that shouldn’t take away from the pride that this unit should feel after a very strong game.
Not a bad way to head into a bye week. Coach Harbaugh will have an extra week to prepare for the slew of tough opponents (Oregon, @USC, Cal, Notre Dame). Having three of the four games at home doesn’t hurt, and a few more efforts like this one could easily result in an upset win and bowl eligibility for the Cardinal.