Stanford Preview

The Stanford Cardinal (4-4, 2-3 in Pac-10) comes to Tempe, AZ this weekend looking to go above the .500 mark and improve chances for post-season play. Meanwhile, Arizona State (6-2, 3-2 in Pac-10) will be seeking a win to keep their Holiday Bowl hopes alive while maintaining an undefeated mark at home. Both teams are coming off of shutouts last week to UCLA and California respectively.

Cardinal Head Coach Buddy Teevens decided his defense needed some new blood after two years of watching opponents light up the scoreboard. Teevens brought AJ Christoff aboard to oversee the defense and his hire has paid off -- the Cardinal defense is playing with much more intensity this season. Christoff's defense ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, giving up an average of 16.8 points per game.

The Stanford Defensive Line is anchored by the big Nose Tackle, Babatunde Oshinowo, who has 28 tackles and a sack on the year. Flanking him on the interior is converted DE, Julian Jenkins, who is having a fantastic junior season with 5.5 sacks and 38 tackles. Both Jenkins and DE, Jon Alston, are capable of creating havoc in the backfield. Alston boasts 4 sacks on the year to go along with his 47 tackles.

Buddy Teevens may want to make more recruiting inroads with Georgia high schools as two of his defensive stars are from the Peach State, Jenkins on the line and LB Kevin Schimmelmann. The Marietta, GA Linebacker leads the team in tackles with 56. Schimmelmann has the speed to cover a lot of ground and can drop back into coverage as well. David Bergeron and Jared Newberry shore up the other Linebacker spots. Newberry has 7 tackles for loss this season. Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is the leader of the Stanford secondary. Atogwe is just 5 tackles shy of Schimmelmann's mark of 56 and comes in with two interceptions. This defense is susceptible to the pass but has made opposing QBs pay from time to time if they are off the mark. Cornerback Leigh Torrence has helped the opportunistic Cardinal defense with four INT's. Cornerbacks Stanley Wilson and

TJ Rushing bring in good experience while Safeties Brandon Harrison and Trevor Hooper are looking to add more to their resumes as sophomores. Hooper was the team returning leader in interceptions coming into the 2004 campaign with three.

QB Trent Edwards is positioning himself to be one of the Pac-10's better up-and-coming signal callers with a 206 yards per game average. Edwards has eight TDs on the year but has matched that mark with 8 INT's. As a sophomore that's not too surprising but his potential has Stanford fans excited for the future of this offense. Edwards has been banged up as of late and his backup, TC Ostrander, has been a capable replacement. Ostrander has 358 yards and one TD in three games.

Stanford has borrowed a page from Washington State in gathering a handful of tall WRs in hopes of creating mismatches. Their leading WR, Evan Moore, stands at 6'7". Moore has 29 catches and 5 TDs with a 56 YPG average. The talented Senior TE, Alex Smith, is the team leader in receptions with 44. Rounding out the receiving group are 6'4" Justin McCullum (23 catches), 6'2" Mark Bradford (26 catches), and 6'2" Greg Camarillo (12 catches).

The modest rushing attack is led by JR Lemon and Kenneth Tolon. Lemon is the main back and has 6 TD while Tolon has chipped in 2. Lemon had a good game against the Sun Devils last season and will be looking for a repeat this year. However, he only has 438 yards on the ground this year. Tolon and Lemon combine for a 96 yards per game average for the Cardinal.

Kicker Michael Sgroi is 11 of 16 in field goal attempts this year and is 3 of 6 in attempts of 40 yards or more. Jay Ottovegio is a capable punter with a 41 yard average and 14 punts pinned inside the 20 yard line.

TJ Rushing is a remarkable kickoff return man and is the only player in the conference to return a kick for a touchdown. Rushing is averaging 30 yards per return, which is tops in the Pac-10. Marcus McCutcheon is also utilized on KO returns and has 146 yards on 6 returns. Sophomore Running Back David Marrero is the Cardinal punt returner and is only averaging 6 yards on returns. His longest of the year was for 18 yards.

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