Posts Tagged ‘Kodi Whitfield’

Fright night: Stanford vs. Washington State and the second-half squeaker

November 3, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2015

I continue recapping Stanford’s 30-28 victory at Washington State on Saturday night. We pick up early in the third quarter, right after the hosts took a 15-3 lead on kicker Erik Powell’s fifth (!) field goal of the evening.

Coach David Shaw’s team hadn’t trailed an opponent since game 3 against USC; they hadn’t previously been losing by this large a margin to that point in 2015. Fans watching the game surely worried that the offense wouldn’t be able to respond, especially since both the passing and ground attacks had been feeble at best.

But Kevin Hogan and comrades responded in inspiring fashion, as the veteran quarterback connected with freshman speedster Bryce Love for a 14-yard gain on the offensive unit’s initial play in the second half. Two plays later, on third and 6 from the Washington State 41-yard line, Hogan faked a pitchout to Christian McCaffrey going left before bursting up the middle and sprinting for the goal line. Only a desperation diving try by cornerback Marcellus Pippins prevented a touchdown. The 39-yard run was the longest of Hogan’s career.

Shaw and offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren turned next to — say it with me, Cardinal true believers! — fifth-year running back Remound Wright on goal to go from the 2. He was stifled on his first rush, but on second down, Wright went over the top for the touchdown. Suddenly, Stanford’s deficit was a much more manageable 15-10.

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Fright night: Stanford vs. Washington State and a hellish Halloween-evening half

November 3, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2015

On Oct. 24, Stanford hosted Washington and notched a relatively modest 31-14 win to close out a three-game home stand. One week later, the Cardinal took to the road and visited Pullman, Wash., — probably the remotest outpost in the Pac-12 Conference — for what proved to be an extremely frightening 30-28 tussle.

True, the Cardinal emerged the victor, but only after converting just four of 13 third-down tries, and only after surviving a second quarter in which the offense accumulated a paltry 25 yards, and only after enduring a first half that ended with Washington State taking a 12-3 lead… and only after the Cougars’ Erik Powell, who had booted five field goals, sliced a kick wide right as time expired — his sole misfire of the evening.

Incidentally, this marked the first time Stanford had won a football game on Oct. 31 since 1970, considerably before I was born.

On a Halloween night when the Stanford offensive unit spent much of its time mimicking its largely ineffective 2014 self, the defense mounted a decent imitation of the stellar crew that throttled the life out of opponents throughout last season. The Cougars were just 2-14 on third downs, and while they scored in all seven of their visits to the red zone, Wazzu managed just a pair of touchdowns while playing before a fired-up home crowd.

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No upset Bruin: Stanford dismantles UCLA, 56-35, on national television

October 17, 2015

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

“I want to just run a big picture of Christian McCaffrey instead of a recap tomorrow,” Do-Hyoung Park, a Stanford student and sportswriter, tweeted late in the third quarter of the Cardinal football team’s 56-20 demolition of the visiting UCLA Bruins.

And why not? The super sophomore was only his regular extraordinary self during Thursday night’s game, which was broadcast to a national audience by ESPN. His 25 rushes went for a school-record 243 yards, easily cruising past the mark of 223 yards that Toby Gerhart set on 38 carries against Oregon in 2009. McCaffrey also tied a school record with four touchdowns, which had been done eight times previously in Stanford history. (The feat has now been accomplished on five occasions since Jim Harbaugh became Stanford’s head coach in 2007.)

McCaffrey’s 96-yard kickoff return set up the first of Kevin Hogan’s three touchdown passes, giving the Cardinal an early 14-3 lead on the Bruins. Add in a four-yard catch and a second kickoff return, this one for 26 yards, and all this spectacular athlete did was run up 369 all-purpose yards, the highest single-game total by any college player so far this year. His per-game average of 253 all-phases yards surpasses that of the runner-up, San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin, by 19 yards.

Incidentally, McCaffrey has now rushed for at least 100 yards in the past four games. Not so incidentally, the Cardinal has rushed for 300 or more yards in the past four games and scored at least 40 points during each of those outings.

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The alumni return, and so does dominance: Against UCLA, Stanford football notches an inspiring homecoming victory

October 25, 2013

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

Now that’s more like it!

That’s the thought that went through my mind, and likely the minds of Stanford football fans everywhere, as the Cardinal wrapped up a 24-10 win over UCLA last Saturday.

In every way, the game was superior to Stanford’s loss at Utah the previous week. The dangerous Brett Hundley and his Bruins offense had been averaging nearly 46 points and 547 yards per game. But last weekend, the dominating Stanford defense returned, holding the visiting squad to just 266 yards.

Saturday, which was Stanford’s homecoming, also saw the return of ground-and-pound Cardinal offense. Coach David Shaw’s squad ran 50 times and threw 25 times. When the afternoon was over — remember afternoon football, Cardinal fans? — the home team had a time-of-possession edge of about 14 and a half minutes over UCLA.

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Crashing back to Earth: Revisiting reality after the 27-21 defeat at Utah

October 15, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 15, 2013

There’s no way around it. The Stanford football team’s 27-21 loss on Saturday evening to Utah was thoroughly disappointing.

The hosts outhustled and outcoached the Cardinal on virtually every level, and it showed. Name a category and the Utes owned it. They led in total yards (410-389), rushing yards (176-143), time of possession (32:54–27:06), penalties (Utah was flagged four times for 30 yards; Stanford, 6-33), turnovers (Stanford lost two fumbles, killing both of the Cardinal’s third-quarter possessions; Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was picked once) and fourth-down conversions (1-1, compared to 0-1 for Stanford).

The good news was that, despite lackluster play in the second and third quarters, fifth-ranked Stanford had a chance to win in the final minute. The bad news, of course, was that coach David Shaw’s squad could not pull it out despite being more heralded and more talented than Utah.

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A few answers are revealed, but many mysteries abound after Stanford’s 34-20 win against Army

September 16, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 16, 2013

Over the past four years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see my beloved Stanford football team play in person an average of once a season, despite living on the opposite side of the country from my alma mater. (I’m separated by a distance of 2,800 miles and 44 hours of drive time, according to my smartphone map program.)

I got my latest opportunity to cheer on my favorite team from the stands this past weekend when the Cardinal visited the U.S. Military Academy in upstate New York. West Point isn’t far from where I grew up, and I was lucky enough to be treated to a pair of tickets by a sibling.

So I was there in Michie Stadium when the team kicked off its second game of the 2013 season. After four quarters, fifth-ranked Stanford had earned a 34-20 victory over Army. But I found myself coming away with plenty of questions — some of them easily answered, some of them unanswerable at the moment.

Here’s a look at what I saw and what I wondered about after the Cardinal moved to 2-0 on the young year.

• Question: How good will Tyler Gaffney be this year?

Answer: Very. T-Gaff left no doubt that he is primed for a terrific season after posting his second straight game with more than 100 rushing yards. In fact, Gaffney — who took a break from football in 2012 to play minor league baseball — improved on his performance against San Jose State in the opener.

He rushed 20 times in each of the first two games, racking up 104 yards (5.2 yards per carry; long of 16) and two touchdowns against the Spartans and 132 yards (6.6 ypc; long of 25) and one score vs. Army. No. 25 went for two catches and 20 yards in the first game of 2013 and accounted for a single 23-yard touchdown reception in the second game.

Many folks thought that the Stanford ground game would miss a beat after the graduation of Stepfan Taylor. But all indications are that those folks thought wrong.

• Question: Why has David Shaw been talking about running-back-by-committee when Gaffney has been so spectacular in the early going?

Answer: Unclear. Maybe Gaffney played below his current level during preseason camp. Maybe his chief rival, Anthony Wilkerson, flashed far more potential during summer practice than he’s shown in the first two contests. Maybe Stanford’s coach wanted to make it harder for opposing coaches to prepare for the Cardinal. Read the rest of this entry »

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