Upper seats are late to fill in as the clock reads 4:53 p.m. Guess it will be a Stanford-centric crowd after all. In seriousness, it's hard to distinguish when everyone is in red, but maybe it is the Stanford faithful with a turnout edge.
I take stock of Jim Rutter and David Lombardi up here in the press box. Their respective guesses are 27-17 and 27-20, good guys. I started with Stanford small and then talked myself into 41-14 in The Bootleg's video preview. David and I agree that the Wisconsin D is nothing special, and if anyone is going to benefit from an extra month of practice, presumably it's a quarterback about to make his fifth start, right?
Never heard a whole stadium sing along to the end of the national anthem. Gives me goose bumps. Keith Jackson then welcomes us via PA and a cheer of "Let's go Stanford!" is audible up in the press box, six stories above the lower bowl.
Not too often that the world's foremost expert on chimps does the coin flip honors, but there's a first for everything. At any rate, Stanford wins and elects to receive.
Final thought: Lombardi mentions that Stanford practiced going deep with Jamal-Rashad Patterson and Kelsey Young in the open practice. Interesting that they'd choose to practice those plays in their one open practice, so we'll have to see whether it's a ploy to keep the Wisky coaches thinking, or if the deep bomb is coming.
End of first quarter: Stanford 14, Wisconsin 0
Taylor gains four tough yards on power right on the game's first snap, and then another two going to his left behind a pulling lineman on second down. Third down sees Kevin Danser beat in pass protection, but Kevin Hogan gets outside the rusher to pick up the first down rolling to his right at the 31. Hogan comes back to his right to find Ertz for nine on what looked like spider 2 Y banana, and then Taylor goes right again for 10 to move the chains to midfield, as Stanford is firing on all cylinders on its opening drive.
Then comes the most inspired offensive playcalling of the season. Stanford goes out of the wildcat, Young takes the end around from Anthony Wilkerson and reverses to Drew Terrell -- who throws a horribly underthrown jump ball. No worries, as Jamal Rashad Patterson comes down with the pigskin at the Badger 16 for a 34-yard gain. Maybe Patterson, known for periodic drops on the Farm, only catches the tough ones? The next snap sees Stanford's line block right (where four of the first five snaps went) and fake right to the upback, but then the rock goes to Kelsey Young heading hard for the left sideline on a counter. It's a beautiful play call that has Wisconsin's defense totally outwitted, and Young follows his convoy into the end zone.
Question: Do you think Hogan elected to give to Young as a second option on the touchdown handoff, or was the play drawn up that way?
Stanford 7, Wisconsin 0, 11:24 left in the first
Wisconsin tries an end around pass of her own on its first snap, but Stanford has called "scissors" to Wisconsin's "paper". A pressuring Jordan Richards is blitzing right into the wide receiver, and Wisconsin finds itself at her three after an intentional grounding call. No matter, as Montee Ball breaks an Alex Carter tackle in the second level to go for 22 yards and reset the chains at the 26. But Ball runs for only one on first down and Curt Phillips can do nothing with a designed second down draw, leaving Wisconsin in third and nine and a decidedly pro-Stanford crowd making noise. Phillips throws an awful, awful third down pass a dozen yards from Jared Abbrederis, and Stanford has the ball on its 21 with 8:59 left in the quarter after a 51-yard punt.
Stanford 7, Wisconsin 0, 8:59 left in the first
Stanford has a chance to step on Wisconsin's throat early here, because if Wisconsin, a run-heavy team, falls behind and has to start passing against Stanford's front seven, watch out. The Badgers are not a team that can score points in a hurry. Stanford picks up 19 and then nine with a rollout pass to Drew Terrell and a Stepfan Taylor run. Taylor then picks up five, and then Hogan gets destroyed but hangs in to hit Ertz in stride for 43 yards. First and goal on the Wisconsin three, and as Taylor goes for a touchdown, again to the right – most of Stanford's big plays have come attacking to the right –it's starting to look like the second half of the 2011 Orange Bowl all over again. Question: It's early, but if the rout holds up, where does Stanford end up ranked this year? Where do they start next year? I say fifth this year and, after debate in the press box, fourth next year behind some grouping of Oregon, Ohio State, Alabama and LSU.
Stanford 14, Wisconsin 0, 6:35 left in the first
This is tied for Wisconsin's biggest deficit of the year; they also trailed Ohio State 14-0. The largest deficit they overcame this season was 11 points, against Utah State.
LA Times' Chris Dufrense tweets that Wisconsin is in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten and the Laggers Division of the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, Wisconsin runs Ball twice for four yards a pop, and goes heavy for third and two. Ball stems the bleeding, at least momentarily, by running for seven. Chase Thomas then gets called for hands to the face of a Badger receiver on another horrible throw by Phillips. Still, Wisconsin has only run 10 plays and we have under four minutes left in the quarter, a nice development for your leading Cardinal. Phillips runs for eight on third down – I'm telling you, he's a poor man's Josh Nunes, a phrase I didn't foresee myself typing – as Wisconsin has fresh life at the SU 34.
Stanford's DL already has its hands on its hips as Wisconsin is mashing the Cardinal on this drive. They've run for 49 yards after adding another two to pull into a third and one. On the decisive down, Wisconsin gets Trent Murphy to jump on a hard count, and yet again the Badgers somehow keep this drive alive. For those counting at home, that's two third-down conversions by penalty and one by QB scramble this drive.
Now into the red zone, Wisconsin looks to capitalize. They go jet sweep for nine and then up the middle with James White for four. Between UCLA mashing the Cardinal in Stanford's last game and Wisconsin's 62 rushing yards through the first quarter here, the Cardinal rush defense has looked mighty different in a post-Terrence Stephens world. That's a red flag for the 2013 season. Still, it's 14-0 Stanford after one quarter in a game in which Wisconsin is going to have to score just about every time it touches the ball moving forward, given the deficit, how quickly the clock has run and how the Stanford O has looked thus far.
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