Stanford Preview

This Saturday, September 6th, Stanford hosts San Jose State at Stanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm. The game will mark the 59th meeting between the Cardinal and Spartans!

This Saturday, September 6th, Stanford hosts San Jose State at Stanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm.

The game will mark the 59th meeting between the Cardinal and Spartans with Stanford holding a 44-13-1 advantage. Last year, the Cardinal beat SJS 63-26 on September 14 for its first win of the season

Media Coverage: There will be no live television coverage of the game. Live game audio and live in-game stats are available at www.yahoo.com.

It's Kids Day and Stanford Alumni Day at Stanford Stadium. All kids 17 and under are admitted free to the game.

Stanford- San Jose State Series: The Cardinal and Spartans will meet for the 59th time on September 6 with Stanford holding a 44-13-1 advantage in the series. The two teams have met every year since 1948 with the exception of 1991. Stanford has won the last two games and eight of the last 11.

San Jose State had won three straight from 1998-2000. Stanford scored a season high 63 points in last year's victory over SJSU, the fifth highest scoring game in Stanford school history.

Next year's game will be played on September 11 at Spartan Stadium, the fourth time in series history that the game will be played away from Stanford Stadium.

Quick Notes: Stanford will be playing its first game of the year while the Spartans will be playing their third. Stanford has won the past two meetings with SJS by a combined score of 104-40. The Cardinal has not opened the season with San Jose State since 1998. Stanford will play three of its first four games on the road, but four of its last five at home.

Defensive Experience: One of the strengths of the 2003 Cardinal is its overall experience on defense. While three starters off last year's team have departed, eight starters and 21 letterwinners are back, including nine of the team's top 10 tacklers. Stanford returns its top six linebackers from a year ago, four of its top five in the secondary, two starters on the line and five others who received significant playing time at tackle and end. The Cardinal started 19 different players on defense in 2002 -and 15 of them are back in '03.

Powell's Play: A healthy Luke Powell is good news for the Cardinal offense. Last season, one of the most dangerous players in college football was slowed much of the year with an ankle injury ... Powell is now healthy and ready to assume his place as one of the top play-makers in the country. A former First-Team All-American (as a KOR in 2001), Powell enters his final season at Stanford sporting an impressive 18.8 yards per reception average, which is third all-time at Stanford. He has caught 83 passes for 1,560 yards and 11 touchdowns and is the only player in school history to have three touchdown receptions of 75 yards or more. He also has 16 catches over 30 yards in his career, which include two from 50-59 yards and two others from 60-69 yards. As a kick returner, he is among the school's all-time best in punt returns (47), punt return yards (553) and punt return average (11.8).

O-Line Story: The story of the Cardinal's offensive line can be summed up in one word: young. Senior Kirk Chambers will be back at left tackle for his fourth season in the starting lineup, but the remaining candidates to earn starting spots are young and inexperienced. Here are the hard facts: of the 16 offensive lineman on the Stanford's roster, 12 (five true freshman, seven redshirt freshman) have never played for the Cardinal, two have seen limited playing time (senior Mike Sullivan and sophomore Brian Head) and one (senior Drew Caylor) has received some playing time as an offensive lineman, but has been a defensive lineman the past two years

Tight End Trio: While Brett Pierce and Matt Traverso suffered through injury-riddled seasons a year ago, junior Alex Smith came to the forefront and put together an outstanding season (30 receptions, 380 yards, two TDs) as the team's only true tight end in 2002. Now, both Pierce (ACL) and Traverso (ankle) are healthy and, combined with Smith, gives the Cardinal a quality trio of tight ends. Pierce caught 19 balls for 258 yards and three touchdowns in 2001, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener last year at Boston College. Both Pierce and Smith have received pre-season recognition this year as being among the top tight ends in the conference. Pierce, who has caught 27 passes in his career for 307 yards and three TDs, was a pre-season First-Team All-Pac-10 selection while Smith garnered Second-Team pre-season All-America honors. In addtion to the three veterans, true freshman Patrick Danahy (Sarasota, Fla.) will also see playing time in a reserve role in 2003.

Depth at Linebacker: The Cardinal returns its top six linebackers from a year ago and will begin the 2003 campaign with an experienced, season corps from which to choose. For the record, Stanford returns all three starters in OLBs Jon Alston and David Bergeron (moved to MLB for 2003) and MLB Jake Covault. However, all six returnees, which include soph. Michael Craven, junior Jared Newberry and senior Brian Gaffney, spent time in the starting lineup last year. Add to that list converted safety Kevin Schimmelmann and true freshman Michael Okwo, both playing OLB, and the Cardinal has an outstanding group of eight talented linebackers.

On the Run: Junior Kenneth Tolon and sophomore J.R. Lemon head into the season as the Cardinal's two main rushing threats. Tolon is the team's top returning rusher (692 yards, 7 TDs, 5.8 ypc) and has the most game experience, although he has never started. He rushed for 346 yards in each of the last two seasons and his 5.2 yards per carry average is impressive. Lemon came to Stanford in 2001 as one of the nation's premier recruits. He had limited playing time a year ago (30 carries, 85 yards, 3 TDs), but at 6-1, 225 he presents a tremendous combination of size and speed. Redshirt freshman Gerald Commisiong and true freshman David Marrero should also see some playing time at the running back position.

The Need For Speed: Sophomore defensive back T.J. Rushing and wide receivers Gerren Crochet (redshirt sophomore) and Nick Sebes (redshirt junior) made up three-fourths of the Stanford 4x100 relay team that won the prestigious Texas Relays last spring in the third-fastest time in school history (40.25). Besides excelling on the track, all three are expected to see an increased role on the gridiron this season. Rushing is battling for a starting berth at cornerback and will be a key component of Stanford's secondary this season. Both Sebes and Crochet will be integral parts of the Cardinal's receiving corps.

CC: Stanford sports for portions of story content.


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