Archive for November 17th, 2015

Oregon postscript, Big Game prologue: On Glenn ‘Pop’ Warner, David Shaw and Rose Bowl glory

November 17, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 17, 2015

Barring an extremely improbable sequence of events, Stanford will not play for a national championship. But a victory in the 118th Big Game this Saturday — or a single Oregon loss in its final two games against either USC or lowly Oregon State — would put the Cardinal in the conference title game.

A victory in that game would put Shaw’s club back in the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years. That would make Shaw the first Stanford coach to accomplish such a feat since Glenn “Pop” Warner led the Vow Boys to three consecutive Rose Bowls in 1934–36. (Warner also took the team, which was known as the Indians until the 1970s, to Pasadena in 1925, 1927 and 1928.)

So a beautiful, frightening dream — six more games! — is dead, but there is still plenty for Stanford to play for. And a streaky Cal team that would love nothing more than to leave another smudge on Stanford’s record is now standing in the Cardinal’s way.

Prepare yourselves, Cardinal Nation. I have a feeling that the 118th Big Game is going to be quite a wild ride.

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Ducks by a nose: Oregon nabs 38-36 road victory over Stanford in a game where small things made a huge difference

November 17, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 17, 2015

When thinking about a football game, and especially the reasons why it turned out the way it did, it’s tempting to focus on big things.

For example, in contemplating Stanford’s heartbreaking 38-36 home loss to Oregon Saturday night, the mind is naturally drawn to things like Royce Freeman’s 49-yard rush on the Ducks’ second play of the game, which set up a touchdown; or Charles Nelson’s 75-yard rush on the Ducks’ second possession, a one-play drive that put the Ducks up by 14-10; or Darren Carrington’s 47-yard touchdown reception that gave the visitors a one-point advantage, 21-20; or Vernon Adams Jr.’s 33-yard pass to Evans Baylis on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, which instantly put the host team back on its heels; or Taj Griffin’s 49-yard touchdown reception from Adams at the close of the third quarter, which gave the visitors a 35-23 lead.

But I would posit that the outcome came down to three much less flashy or dramatic plays — one in the third quarter, two in the fourth quarter.

In the first of these, a Stanford special-teamer failed to execute a difficult but nonetheless relatively routine play successfully. In the second of the decisive trio of plays, Stanford’s center and quarterback failed to conduct a successful exchange, perhaps the single most fundamental action in the sport of football. And in the final such play, an Oregon defensive back managed to deflect a Cardinal pass — not by a lot, but by just enough to secure the outcome of the game.

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