Both teams are under 150 total yards at the half, so we’ve seen a lot of stalled drives this afternoon. Hogan is 8-of-11 for an anemic 51 yards. McCaffrey has two touches and 42 yards, most of it on that beautiful fourth-and-one call early. Ty Montgomery has two rushes for 16 yards, along with two catches also for 16 yards. Otherwise, Stanford backs have 34 yards on 13 carries, or 10 for 36 taking away Kevin Hogan’s efforts. Not pretty no matter how you slice it. Right on cue, Ty Montgomery fair-catches a punt at the three. Why?!?
Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40, an overtime final. Whoo! Can you spot us a touchdown, guys?
At least they’re feeding Christian McCaffrey this drive. He gets to the perimeter on runs of 19 and eight yards to keep the chains moving. Alas, he then gets blown up in the backfield on a screen, leading to a third and long from the Utah 43 that sees Michael Rector flat drop a slant. Ben Rhyne punts to the Ute four, so at least the Cardinal flipped the field.
Utah gradually works out of the field position hole. Alex Carter is called for pass interference and then Booker takes a third-and-four screen for eight. The sun is gone at 5:07 p.m., and the third quarter nearly so as well with under three minutes to go on that clock. Travis Wilson gets caught from behind as he is flushed from the pocket on third down, the Ute punt should come with under two minutes in the quarter. Both teams remain under 200 yards of total offense. Stanford has 187 yards on 33 plays while Utah has 44 yards on 193 plays, so if anything, the Ute defense should be fresher come the final stretch.
Has to be a disappointing day for the Stanford offense. We have a parody piece coming down the pipes soon, but honestly, today’s play calls have been okay thus far. We went for fourth and short – and with a beautiful call at that – on our one touchdown, we’ve been mixing up pass and run well enough, and trying to feed McCaffrey and Montgomery the best we can. Poor field position has hurt, the one turnover hurt, and the Ute defense is one of the conference’s stronger units. Still, we are at home, we are nearly through three quarters, and we are under 200 yards. Hard to put a bright face on this one.
Hogan overthrows Montgomery, who had half a step on second and long, and then takes a third-and-long sack. On comes the punt team, and Utah should be starting the fourth with the ball near midfield. Not sure what you’re supposed to call if Hogan is going to misfire and then pat the ball two beats too long.
Attendance is an announced 44,635, and perhaps ¾ of that in actuality. Stanford induces a Utah block-in-the-back call on the punt return, so the Utes will instead scrimmage from their 32.
Stanford 7, Utah 7, End Third Quarter
Travis Wilson just 130 yards on 15-of-21 passing through three. Booker has 82 total yards on 20 touches, so the Cardinal D is shutting down Utah’s stars. Kevin Hogan’s 10-of-16 for 54 yards is truly horrific on a yards-per-pass basis: In fact, it’s hard to get to that mark if you complete any passes whatsoever down the field. We’ve taken a few shots, but don’t think we’ve hit on anything longer than five or ten yards downfield all day, based on the 54 total yards alone. And a lot harder to run any offense if the D can adjust and creep down those safeties. Ugh.
Stanford’s third straight Nobel Prize winner is announced to applause. I know fans aren’t excited about the constant interruptions and non-football public service announcements, but I make an exception for a Nobel Prize. Win one of those, least we can do is give you your 60 seconds in the spotlight. Congrats to all the researchers here.
Another idea for the Jumbotron: We have something like eight top-10 fall sports teams right here on the Farm. (Men’s and women’s soccer, men’s water polo, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s volleyball, with women’s basketball starting up and plenty of other sports that I didn’t happen to generate in 10 seconds off the top of my head.) Why not show highlights from their games? You’re telling me people wouldn’t go wild and start cheering if it’s the USC game and they show our soccer team beating the Trojans in double overtime? And then you can show the teams’ schedules and next games to cross-promote. Either that or bring back the dancing grannies from Maples, but no more drum cams please.
Hogan is not himself, underthrowing an open Montgomery by five yards on a streak down the right sideline. McCaffrey then gets the edge and runs for two. To me, today’s offense struggles are on the quarterback, for the reasons I’ve laid out. I think the play calls have been pretty solid, as Michael Rector slips on a throwback screen that was doomed anyway, and Utah assumes possession at the Card 45 after a 31-yard punt.
Apparently Todd Husak, whom I spy in the adjacent booth, has been telling it like it is throughout the season, specifically being resfreshingly unafraid to critique the offense when appropriate. Can only imagine what he’s saying today…
Give the Stanford defense credit. Utah was in conceivable field goal position with just one first down, but instead it’s a three and out that sees the Utes march backwards, punting from their own 46 on a fourth and 19. Of course the rugby punter has a rollout 48-yard punt, so Stanford will start from the six regardless.
James Vaughters leads the Cardinal with two sacks today. Orchard with 2.5 for the Utes. Disaster narrowly averted as Austin Hooper makes up for his first-half fumble by recovering Kelsey Young’s at the Cardinal 20.
The Cardinal keep grinding it out, slowly, slowly, and the game clock is nearing five minutes as Stanford has now advanced to the Ute 44 to face a third and one. There have been screens of five and two yards, but otherwise it’s been entirely runs on this drive, which continues as Remound Wright dives for two on the third and short…
(See our final piece for the final five minutes and overtimes. Examine on a real-time basis exactly what went wrong as Stanford sees victory yet again slip away.)
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