Late stand preserves 35-0 shutout (Final)

I think this is the best defense we’ve had at the Farm because there is no weak link to attack – even in past years in which the front seven was fearsome, teams could pick on the secondary. Stanford had three shutouts over the 2010 season, and with Wazzu, Cal, Utah and Oregon State still to come, it’ll be fun to track. But first, need the zero today…

As the fourth quarter starts, give the Army coach credit. He’s not trying to cover the 26-point spread – although, hey, anything that cuts into defense spending and the national debt, right? He’s not trying to make it “look respectable”. He’s trying to win, and he starts the fourth quarter with a gutsy call for a fake punt on fourth and eight from their 39. Patrick Skov has a tackle on the runner after only four yards, but you know what, Army lost absolutely nothing with that call. Why not try to reverse momentum and hang in this for as long as you can? Besides, after turning it over at their 43, Army has the Stanford offense right where they want ‘em…

Austin Hooper starts the drive with his second drop of the day, but Jeff Trojan skies for an inaccurate third and seven pass and bails out Kevin Hogan with a circus catch.

Would love to see the rejected tweets that get sent to the Stanford tweet people…

Third and six, Stanford comes out five wide and finds Christian McCaffrey for 12 to move the chains. Again, love coming out five wide, and it is working. Keep with it. Now we go heavy, and Patrick Skov lines up as the tailback and runs for four. Second and goal, three wide, wildcat, and Ty Montgomery gets in easy. I like that if we’re going to run that play, at least we spread out the field and gave Montgomery more room to squirm in between the defenders and find the end zone. Stanford completes the 35-yard, eight-play drive and we’re pretty close to the Vegas number after all.

Stanford 28, Army 0, 11:35 remaining

If the second-stringers can hold on, this will be Stanford’s second shutout in three games (and the third game was more impressive yet). I think this is the best defense we’ve had at the Farm because there is no weak link to attack – even in past years in which the front seven was fearsome, teams could pick on the secondary. Stanford had three shutouts over the 2010 season, and with Wazzu, Cal, Utah and Oregon State still to come, it’ll be fun to track. But first, need the zero today…

Williamson pulls the kickoff out of bounds and Army will go from its 35. Third and seven on the Knight 38, and Blake Martinez can’t fight off a downfield block. First down Army, as backup quarterback A.J. Schurr has replaced Angel Santiago. A nine-yard gain and then another short gain move the chains, and Army will scrimmage from the Card 42 with a fresh set of downs. Can this D hold the shutout?

Some stats: Yards are 317-134, 165-125 on the ground and 152-9 through the air. (All stats in Stanford’s favor.) Card offense is 5-of-9 on third downs, and D is 4-of-12. First downs 17-9, and Stanford is averaging 6.2 yards per play to Army’s 2.7. Pretty uniformly dominant all around, not much to see. The teams have each run about 51 plays. Army has five tackles for loss, which the O can’t like, to seven for Stanford.

Stanford now has two turnovers, as Schurr, the scrambling Army quarterback, throws late on the run, and that’s too easy for A.J. Tarpley. The shutout continues.

Why is Ty Montgomery still in the game? It’s 28-0, 9:14 remaining. He’s just a decoy as Ricky Seale gets a carry going the other way. Now Montgomery catches for a 10-yard gain but for a coach who is otherwise super conservative, seriously, get him out of there. Montgomery gets dinged and is shaking his leg on the sideline on a 22-yard Austin Hooper gain, and now Montgomery is pacing up and down the sideline trying to shake it off. Oh, and Kevin Hogan just scrambled for two. Why are these guys in? And now we’re sending Montgomery back in? Why, why, why?

Third and five, ball at the 32, and it’s a touchdown strike to none other than Montgomery. Nice catch, and great, pad everyone’s stats a little, but I still would not have run him out there this series.

Stanford 35, Army 0, 6:09 remaining

Barry Sanders has 92 yards on nine carries, besting Young’s seven for 46. Cajuste has the three touchdowns, but Montgomery has eight receptions, more than twice any of his teammates, for 86 yards.

Hogan is 20-of-28 for 216 yards and four touchdowns. We ran 44 times, about the balance you would expect from Stanford against an overpowered opponent. And the Cardinal have run away with it here in the second half as their physical advantages just proved too much, but again it took a while for the offense to get going in the first half, and again, would have liked to see less power, and more trying to get these playmakers the ball outside of the tackles.

A.J. Schurr rips off a 35-yarder against a 5-2 Cardinal defense, and then goes for another 17. All of a sudden, that shutout is in some serious jeopardy, with Army scrimmaging from the Card 23 on first and goal. Maybe a turnover? Maybe Army goes for it and comes up short on fourth? Maybe if the Knights do attempt a field goal, they doink it? Third and eight at the Stanford 21, and I for one want this shutout. Schurr keeps for seven and we’re going to get fourth and inches as we go under the four-minute mark.

The D wants the shutout too – they admit as much in games in which they do pitch it – but they’re going to have to battle a little longer after an Army dive moves the chains. The Knights can move the ball against this second-string defense: Another gain of nine, and ball’s at the Stanford two for second and one. Noor Davis stands up the pitchman for no gain, and now it’s third and one. Yet again, Army stood up for a slight loss, and now it’s fourth and one at the two, for the shutout.

The house gets loud, and it’s fitting that this game will end with the defense getting to make a statement. A goal-line stand to preserve the shutout would leave a fitting taste in everyone’s mouths after the Stanford D has romped through these first three weeks, but we don’t get to write the script – the players do. And so it’s fourth and one from the two off an Army timeout now, Schurr goes backwards for a three yard loss, and let’s see, it’s Peter Kalambayi who drives his man five yards backwards playside to blow up the play.

So the goal-line stand is a fitting end to this game, and the first quarter of the season. We’ll see you after the bye, and as Evan Crower and Christian McCaffrey run out the last few snaps, it’s “All Right Now” on the Farm.

Stanford 35, Army 0, Final


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