Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Luck’

Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 9-4 Stanford

December 6, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 6, 2017

I had a good time watching the Pac-12 football championship game. I just wish the outcome had been different…

• The Bad 

Stanford’s strongest defensive group is probably its secondary. Going into last week’s game, the Cardinal ranked fifth in the league in passing defense, allowing 220 yards per game and 15 touchdown receptions. As noted last week, Stanford has intercepted 16 passes, which ranked 10th in the nation.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Stanford football stands at 3-1

October 8, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 8, 2016

At some point during or after the late-September slaughter in Seattle, a particular tweet came across my Twitter feed. In it, a college football reporter and USC fan praised Stanford’s head football coach but claimed that his team turns in one horrible showing per season:

I started wondering about that — specifically, is it true? My musings prompted me to write this post about the Bad, the Ugly and the Good, a.k.a. the B-U-G, for Stanford football.

• The Bad

David Shaw is in his sixth year seventh year at the helm of the Cardinal football team. Obviously the 44-6 slaughter in Seattle was this year’s stinker. But what about previous seasons?

I consulted the Stanford football media guide. The team lost only twice in 2015 en route to a 12-2 record. One of those defeats was a hard-fought 38-36 home loss to Oregon — much too close a game to call a stinker. No, the obvious stinker from last season was the season-opening 16-6 loss at Northwestern, in which a stultified Cardinal managed to convert just three of 15 third-down tries.

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Success redefined: Comparing David Shaw to past Stanford football coaches

October 3, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 3, 2013

Stanford football fans are living in an unprecedented era of success. And as I blogged just the other day, the squad is poised to have yet another outstanding season.

I’ve enjoyed (and endured) a number of Cardinal campaigns, and nothing but nothing compares to the run the team has experienced since the start of the 2010 season. Stanford is 39-5 over that stretch, with a 2-1 record in Bowl Championship Series postseason games.

I’ve become interested lately in the accomplishments of current head coach David Shaw, a 1994 Stanford grad who took the job when Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers after the 2010 season. Yes, Harbaugh obviously laid the foundation for Shaw; without Harbaugh, Shaw would not have enjoyed as much success as he’s had.

But don’t slight Shaw. The first-time head coach has won 27 of his first 31 games, which makes for a winning percentage of .871. That’s a mark only three Stanford coaches have exceeded.

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Cardinal clobbers Cougars: Stanford rolls, 55-17, in Seattle

October 1, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 1, 2013

Football can be a funny sport. Saturday night’s Stanford game against Washington State in rainy Seattle provided another example of that.

Paradoxically, I was reassured that everything was going to be OK by the Stanford football possession that ended with quarterback Kevin Hogan’s worst pass, an underthrown ball intercepted by WSU defender Deone Bucannon in the end zone.

Up until the pick, the drive had borne all the hallmarks of classic Cardinal offense. Stanford traveled 74 yards over the course of 17 plays. The protracted possession ate up more than half of the second quarter — 7:57, to be precise.

Talk about balance: The Cardinal rushed nine times and threw eight times on the series. (A pass interference penalty on tight end Luke Kaumatule erased another aerial play.) Talk about power: Three of the Cardinal rushes, all by Tyler Gaffney, went for five yards or longer. Talk about versatility: After the flag on Kaumatule, Hogan threw three straight completions — to Ty Montgomery for 14 yards, to Devon Cajuste for 16 and to Sanders for another 16. (Montgomery and Cajuste caught balls for nine and 10 yards respectively earlier in the drive.)

The Cougars defense held Gaffney (and Anthony Wilkerson, who got one carry) to three yards or fewer on six occasions, and Hogan had three incomplete passes, which included the Bucannon intersection plus what I recall as being an overthrown deep ball to an open Michael Rector. But the overweening impression that I took away from the drive was that the Cardinal offense was going to be very, very difficult to stop.

That conclusion was justified in the second half. Stanford led just 17-3 at intermission. But Cardinal fans who expected the Farm boys’ size and strength to overwhelm the Cougars after the break found their expectations amply rewarded.

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Thoughts on Arizona State vs. Stanford, winning ugly and winning championships

September 25, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 25, 2013

Stanford’s 42-28 home win over 23rd-ranked Arizona State on Saturday night left many Cardinal football fans with an unpleasant aftertaste.

The reason wasn’t the margin of victory — 14 points, the same as in Stanford’s 34-20 win the week before at Army — so much as it was the contrast between the home team’s play in the first and second halves. Specifically, the problem was how ragged the Cardinal looked during the final quarter, in which ASU strung together three straight touchdowns. Stanford had leaped out to a 29-0 lead after the opening half and a 39-7 advantage after 45 minutes. After three quarters, ASU was just 3-13 on third-down conversions, compared to 7-11 for Stanford, and had held the ball for a little more than 19 minutes.

The Sun Devils faced third down five times in the final period. They made three of them and converted on fourth down the other two times. ASU had 417 yards on offense for the game; a fairly astounding 195 of them came on their trio of fourth-quarter touchdown drives, per my count.

By contrast, the Cardinal had three possessions in the final quarter and punted on all of them. The first two of those Stanford drives were led by backup play-caller Evan Crower, who handed off six times for a net gain of 13 yards. The team’s final drive, led by starter Kevin Hogan, covered 40 yards and led to Jordan Williamson’s successful 24-yard kick; despite that, the hosts missed on all four of their third-down tries in the final stanza. Ultimately, 87 percent of Stanford’s offensive yards came over the first three-quarters of the game.

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