Archive for November, 2018

Vignette: Flowers, movement, (failed) joke

November 30, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 30, 2018

Sometime in early or mid-November, on a relatively pleasant fall afternoon, I parked my car on Iredell Street in Durham and walked the long way around the block to a local coffee shop.

After turning the corner onto West Markham Avenue, I proceeded up the incline toward Ninth Street, where West Markham becomes Hillsborough Road. As I closed in on the intersection, I noticed a man walking toward me who was carrying at least two floral arrangements.

I decided to be a comedian. “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” I exclaimed as we neared each other.

His face twitched. I couldn’t tell if he’d gotten the joke — which was that he needn’t have brought me all those flowers — or if he had completely failed to get what I’d been saying.

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Cheeps and Chirps for Nov. 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 28, 2018

The finest hand-crafted autumnal tweets.

• Politics

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 7-4 Stanford

November 27, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 27, 2018

I watched the Cardinal take on UCLA last Saturday by myself at James Joyce Pub. The game was well in hand except, um, for all the times that it wasn’t.

• The Bad

Stanford’s second-half defense against the Bruins left something to be desired. UCLA piled up 336 yards in the final two quarters, including 311 yards through the air.

Wilton Speight, the UCLA graduate transfer who played 21 games under center for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, shattered career highs with 29 completions in 47 attempts for 466 yards. The Richmond, Va., had never registered more than 26 successful passes, his previous high number of attempts was 38, and his next-highest yardage total was 362. (Rather astonishingly, this was only the third time Speight threw for more than 300 yards over a 28-game collegiate career.)

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Stanford wins wacky shootout in Pasadena, 49-42, despite a wild late rally by UCLA

November 26, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 26, 2018

K.J. Costello threw for five touchdowns, three to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, to lead a battered Stanford football team past a feisty UCLA squad in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

The 49-42 win moved the Cardinal to 7-4 overall and 5-3 in league ahead of their rescheduled contest at Cal on Dec. 1. The Bruins finished 3-9 (3-6) in their first season under head coach Chip Kelly.

Stanford opened with another characteristically bad first possession, which saw the team lose a yard on three snaps. After Costello threw an unwise pass that Adarius Pickett returned for 22 yards to the Cardinal 23-yard line, Kelly sent out freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback to run a trick play. He tossed the ball to Wilton Speight, the redshirt senior starting quarterback, but his pass fell incomplete. The Bruins were only able to gain two yards before sending out junior kicker J.J. Molson to hit a 38-yard field goal.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 6-4 Stanford

November 14, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 14, 2018

I watched football by myself at James Joyce last Saturday and found myself quite gratified by the Cardinal’s performance.

Truth be told, I was also a bit relieved by the win.

• The Bad

Through 10 games, Stanford’s total defense has been rather alarming. The Cardinal is allowing 410.7 yards per contest, which ranks 74th out of 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. That’s the most that the Cardinal defense has surrendered since 2007, when the team let up 435.5 ypg en route to a 4-8 record in Jim Harbaugh’s first year.

Yikes. The Cardinal is about to meet two offensively challenged teams, Cal and UCLA, the latter of which is rivaled only by Oregon State for being the worst team in the conference. With a bit of luck, Stanford’s total defense will improve slightly — but this week, it is still worthy of being labeled The Bad.

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Stanford pounds Beavers, 48-17, on senior night

November 13, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 13, 2018

Granted, Stanford’s opponent on Saturday night was just Oregon State. The Beavers have the worst conference record in the Pac-12 at 1-6, and are tied with UCLA for the worst overall record in the league at 2-8. (The Bruins are 2-5 in league.)

On the other hand, a win’s a win, especially in a Power Five conference. Stanford’s 48-17 victory over the orange and white did more than lift the Cardinal to 6-4 on the year (4-3 in league); it also broke a two-game losing streak, the sixth in Shaw’s eight seasons as head coach, and gave the senior class a win in their final game at Stanford Stadium.

The Cardinal scored on its opening drive for just the third time in 2018. Following a short Bryce Love run on the first play from scrimmage, junior quarterback K.J. Costello completed passes of 26 and 18 yards to sophomore tight end Colby Parkinson and senior wideout Trenton Irwin, respectively. Two snaps later, Love took the ball in from the 28-yard line with one of his best runs of the year; the touchdown was just his fifth of the year.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 5-4 Stanford

November 10, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 10, 2018

Last Saturday, I went to a friend’s house to watch the Stanford-Washington football game. We were both extremely discouraged by the Cardinal’s abysmal first-half ineptitude, particularly in the first quarter. Neither of us suggested turning off the game.

I did not take a long walk after the contest ended. But man oh man, I could have used one.

• The Bad

Yeah, there are a lot of candidates for this week’s The Bad. As mentioned, Stanford’s everything was lousy in the opening half. The defense was bad, allowing three touchdowns and 225 yards. The offense was arguably worse, compiling a grand total of no (zero!) points, 142 passing yards, 11 (eleven!) rushing yards and a pair of interceptions.

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Winless in Seattle: Cardinal rally comes up short in 27-23 loss to Washington

November 9, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 9, 2018

Washington defeated Stanford last weekend, 27-23, to hand the Cardinal their fourth loss in five games. The Huskies, now 7-3 overall and 5-2 in conference, winnowed down the field of potential Pac-12 Northern Division champions to either themselves or Washington State. Stanford fell to 5-4 (3-3) after beginning the season 4-0; the team is still searching for bowl eligibility with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Cardinal showed off some of its worst tendencies on Saturday night in Seattle. The team turned in another scoreless first quarter, its fifth of the season, and another disastrous first half.

The offense opened with a trio of three-and-outs that saw Stanford hold the ball for less than five minutes. The last of those drives ended in a Byron Murphy interception on a fifty-fifty ball that K.J. Costello attempted to throw to Trenton Irwin. The pick led to Washington’s third touchdown, giving them a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter that the hosts would take into intermission.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 5-3 Stanford

November 3, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2018

Because Stanford’s game against Washington State was broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, I went to James Joyce to watch. After the Cardinal’s loss, I wandered the streets for nearly 45 minutes.

Postgame walk, Stanford vs. Washington State.

After Stanford’s 41-38 loss to Washington State, I took a meandering walk for nearly 45 minutes.

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