Archive for November, 2017

Practicality, love and gloves: A few thoughts

November 30, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 30, 2017

I used to own a pair of hybrid glove-mittens. When I needed to keep my hands warm, I’d pull on the hybrids and make sure the mittens enveloped my fingers. When I needed to use my digits, I could pull the mitten-pocket away from my fingers and pin it on the back of my hand using Velcro patches. That left me sporting what were essentially fingerless gloves: except for the top inch or so of my eight fingers, my hands were completely covered. It was like having the best of both worlds!

These hybrids weren’t the most stylish item — then again, very very little of what I wear is — but they were incredibly practical. I wish I still had these hybrids, but alas, I lost track of them years ago.

One of the nicest gifts I ever got was given to me by Lady X when we were dating. She took a solo trip to Italy in the fall or winter. (I think this would have been towards the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.) When she came back, she presented me with a pair of brown leather gloves. They fit quite comfortably and looked great. I was thrilled with them.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 9-3 Stanford

November 29, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 29, 2017

After Stanford was thoroughly routed in Seattle last fall, I took a meandering walk around the Durham Bulls baseball stadium. I covered more than two miles over the course of nearly 40 minutes. I was rather perturbed, and I needed to calm myself down.

After Stanford took down Notre Dame to close out the regular season with a resounding 38-20 victory, I rambled around a similar area, this time going nearly 2.6 miles in about 41 minutes.

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Fourth-quarter turnovers doom Irish in Stanford’s regular-season finale

November 28, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 28, 2017

Stanford scored three touchdowns in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to take control of a game against visiting Notre Dame on Saturday evening.

The Cardinal football team pounced on a pair of Fighting Irish turnovers to convert a 20-17 deficit at the start of the final period into a 38-20 lead with a little more than 10 minutes left in the contest. Stanford went on to win by that score.

The Irish opened scoring late in the first quarter on a short throw from quarterback Brandon Wimbush. His target was receiver Kevin Stepherson, who began the play in a cluster of three men split wide right of the formation. Stepherson worked his way inside on a shallow route, feinted a move to the outside that wrong-footed strong safety Justin Reid and inside linebacker Kevin Palma, and caught the pigskin around the 30-yard line as Reid dove in a futile attempt to knock the ball away. No other defender was remotely close, and Stepherson went the distance for an 83-yard touchdown without having to put the pedal to the metal.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 8-3 Stanford

November 24, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 24, 2017

For the third year running, I watched Big Game at a joint event held by area Stanford and Cal alumni groups. For the second straight year, the watch party was at a sports bar in (the same) recently developed commercial center in an area that some five to 10 years ago was probably forest and/or farmland.

During the event, I won a replica of the Golden Spike, which was used to complete the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.

• The Bad 

Tip of the Stanford ballcap to ace San Jose Mercury News sportswriter Jon Wilner for suggesting this item in a Wednesday post: Stanford has allowed opponents to rush for 1,889 yards in 11 games. That ranks sixth in the Pac-12 and 69th nationally out of 129 teams.

(Mind you, that number has come down slightly since Big Game, in which Cal ran for 155 yards.)

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Grinding to glory: A gritty Love and efficient Costello lead the Cardinal to a narrow Big Game victory

November 21, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 21, 2017

A valiant effort from an injured Bryce Love and an efficient performance by K.J. Costello led Stanford’s football team to a 17-14 victory over Cal in the 120th Big Game on Saturday evening. The win was the eighth straight for the Cardinal over its traditional archrival, the longest streak by either team since they first met on the gridiron in San Francisco back in the spring of 1892.

Stanford moved to 8-3 overall and 7-2 in the Pac-12, while the Golden Bears dropped to 5-6 and 2-6. But the game was a close thing, despite the disparities in the team’s records.

Both offenses were 6 of 12 on third down, and both generated 5.9 yards per offensive play. While the host squad outgained the Bears on the ground, 193 yards to 155, the dueling quarterbacks were nearly even: Cal’s Ross Bowers threw for 182 yards, while Costello topped him by three yards. (Incidentally, both players are sophomores, and both wear No. 3.)

The Cardinal took a 3-0 lead on Jet Toner’s 42-yard field goal on the first series of the game, which was enabled by a 33-yard throw from Costello to junior wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The Bears answered with a 44-yarder by Matt Anderson on their first possession.

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Cheeps and Chirps: Special Boulder edition!

November 17, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 17, 2017

Forget about catching up on past tweets; instead, here’s a Twitter photo and video essay chronicling my recent visit to Boulder, Colo.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 7-3 Stanford

November 16, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 16, 2017

Being somewhat superstitious, and definitely a creature of habit, when Stanford hosted the Washington Huskies last Friday night, I went to watch the game at the same venue where I saw the Cardinal’s tenuous 15-14 road win over Oregon State in October. This is also the same place where I watched Stanford’s bruising 30-28 win at WSU in 2015 and the team’s amazing 26-20 home upset of second-ranked Oregon in 2013, so I guess it’s got a good pedigree.

• The Bad 

It really isn’t easy to find things to criticize in an upset of a top-10 team. But fine, since you asked…

As noted yesterday, after Washington narrowed the score to 30-22 late in the fourth quarter, the Cardinal had an opportunity to put the game away with just a field goal. Instead, the offense faltered following Bryce Love’s final rush of the game, which went for 35 yards and benefited from a 15-yard facemask penalty on the defense.

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Hobbled Love and inspired defense carry Cardinal to a 30-22 upset victory over Washington

November 15, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 15, 2017

Tailback Bryce Love ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns Friday evening to lead the Stanford football team to a 30-22 victory over Washington.

The Cardinal moved to 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-12 while handing the 8-2 Huskies only their second loss, both in conference road games. The upset kept Stanford alive in the conference’s North Division championship race but likely ended the league’s hopes of earning one of the four berths in the College Football Playoff.

Love’s performance came on a weekend when other Heisman Trophy front-runners faltered: Penn State’s Saquon Barkley managed 80 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns in a home win over 4-6 Rutgers, while Notre Dame’s Josh Adams compiled just 40 yards in a 41-8 road loss at Miami. More impressively, Love recorded his yardage against the nation’s leader in total defense (240.9 yards per game). The Huskies defense, which had allowed only three rushing touchdowns through its first nine game, was also second in the nation in scoring defense (11.1 ppg) and sixth in rushing defense (91.1 ypg).

The most striking thing about Love’s evening, however, may have been that he enjoyed his stellar performance while still suffering from the tweaked ankle that he injured against Oregon.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 6-3 Stanford

November 10, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 10, 2017

Gosh… Last weekend’s outing in Pullman sure was wretched for Stanford fans, wasn’t it?

I happened to be in Colorado for an event involving family (and religion!), and I happened to have Saturday afternoon free to watch the Cardinal game. I walked to a craft brewery that shares a parking lot with the hotel where I was staying, ordered a cider — my go-to alcoholic beverage — and planted myself in front of a television screen that happened to be displaying Fox’s broadcast from Washington State.

Unfortunately, it was only doing so because the earlier game on Fox, Penn State at Michigan State, was in a weather delay. When that contest resumed, Stanford-WSU was bumped to the Fox Business Channel. I had to consult with the bartenders to locate the new channel number, which they were kind enough to put on the monitor I was watching.

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Luke Falk and WSU handle struggling Stanford offense, 24-21, on a snowy Saturday

November 9, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 9, 2017

An offensively challenged Stanford lost at Washington State on Saturday, falling 24-21 to the Cougars in the Cardinal’s first snow game since 1936.

The defeat left the Cardinal with a 6-3 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Pac-12 Conference. All of Stanford’s losses have come in true road games, in which the team has averaged 20 points. The squad, which scores 47 points per game in the friendly confines of Stanford Stadium, will finish the regular season with a trio of home contests.

In Pullman last weekend, the Cardinal mustered just 198 yards from scrimmage, converted only three of 12 third downs, and held the ball for less than 27 minutes. Stanford obviously won’t get anywhere close to its nominal home scoring quantity if it continues to perform like that.

The Cardinal, which started sophomore K.J. Costello at quarterback in lieu of faltering senior Keller Chryst, twice scored on 52-yard plays. The first of those came at the start of a Cardinal possession, 45 seconds into the second quarter of a scoreless game. Superstar junior running back Bryce Love took a handoff, sprinted through a gaping hole on the left side of the line and broke out of a tackle attempt by safety Jalen Thompson to sprint for a 52-yard touchdown.

But the Cardinal defense immediately gave back the points, as senior Cougars passer Luke Falk orchestrated a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive that included just two runs. The touchdown came on a 12-yard reception by wideout Tavares Martin Jr.

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