Also relevant because No. 21 Louisville and No. 24 LSU both went down today, plus maybe there's a bump coming to West Coast teams what with the Pac-12 undefeated so far. Stanford is No. 35/No. 37 entering bowl season, so they'd need to win big, hope Oregon wins the playoff and the rest of the conference shows well, and maybe start a Twitter campaign or something, but wouldn't it be nice to finish in the Top 25? Where you end one year is pretty close to where you start the next year, plus maybe a big W generates some closing recruiting momentum. But hey, no Ty Montgomery, so guess that guarantees a balanced offensive effort?
Elsewhere, men's basketball gets a big win at Texas and is on the right side of the bubble heading into 2015. We haven't won national championship yet this year, so maybe we're headed for a third straight spring miracle, but women's volleyball and soccer made the Final Four, men's cross country was second, things are looking good. Oh, and recruiting has been slow in terms of absolute numbers, but our average looks decent, we just got safety Ben Edwards, and hopefully we can close strong with a good 10 prospects outstanding.
Vegas implies a 30-16 victory. It's super windy – like it's not just the flags atop the goalposts but the goalposts themselves that are blowing in the wind -- 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour, and 45 degrees. Dave Flemming is on the call, life's good, here goes.
Maryland's kicker is the Lou Groza winner. Jordan Williamson has had an up-and-down career at Stanford. If the wind takes that out of the game, good by me. Oh, and more Christian McCaffrey with Ty Montgomery out.
Remound Wright, Patrick Skov and Kelsey Young with runs up the middle for little. Short throws to Michael Rector and twice each to Austin Hooper and Jordan Pratt move the ball. Hooper has a particularly nice catch on a high 19-yard slant to the Maryland 15.
Wildcat sees McCaffrey give to Young for 11. New set of downs at the four. Flemming: "David Shaw looks like he's coaching this from Fairbanks, Alaska." Wildcat pass blown up, Hogan draw to the one and Wright barely gets that final yard.
Stanford 7, Maryland 0, 8:03 remaining, first quarter
San Francisco 49er tight end and Maryland alum Vernon Davis gave his alma mater a pregame speech. Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but I love Dave Flemming, underneath the professional veneer, alternatively rooting for Stanford to get the calls and expressing his frustration, like most fans, with the 2014 offense. Not loving Maryland start to march, on now a seven-play, 3:30 drive from their six to their 37. But the D holds, McCaffrey has his second laughably athletic play of the night on an 11-yard return, and Stanford will go from its 22.
A deep ball is blown to Austin Hooper's wrong shoulder, allowing Maryland safety Ben Likely to break it up at the last second, and after a Kevin Hogan sack, Ben Rhyne shanks a punt, so Maryland takes over at their 48, seven yards ahead of where they had it last (despite McCaffrey's athletic 11-yard punt return).
Off a triple option fake, Stefon Diggs beats Blake Martinez on a drag for 26, but Martinez does have a shoestring tackle on a seven-yard run the next snap. Hitch for the first, as Henry Anderson hits the quarterback hard, but after the ball's out. Option pitch and Maryland is three yards away from tying after one quarter.
Stanford 7, Maryland 0, End of First
Martinez with a defensive hold on Stefon Diggs, not a good start for Stanford's No. 4, as Stanford pressure forces a C.J. Brown throwaway. A second-down quick snap seems to take us off guard, and after a one-yard dive, it's a new game.
Stanford 7, Maryland 7, 14:19 remaining, first half
Maryland kicks short, but Patrick Skov beats the coverage team to the other side of the field to return to midfield. Who needs Ty Montgomery after that return? (Joke.) Maryland WR Diggs lacerated his spleen on November 1, good to see him healthy now. Play action to Cajuste for 30, and then toss-sweep to McCaffrey for nine. Six touches for McCaffrey in the team's first 18 plays. Looks like he's RB1, and hope he enters next season in that position.
Screen to Wright, down at the three on a shoestring tackle. Hogan is 8 of 9 for 89 yards against his home-state school, and then hands to Wright for a three-yard score. Quick answer.
Stanford 14, Maryland 7, 11:46 remaining, first half
Well, being lucky is part of it too. Zach Hoffpauir beat on a third-and-short slant, but the receiver drops a ball. Someone should count Christian McCaffrey's broken tackles – he has to have the highest broken tackles to yards ratio in the country – as he splits yet another two defenders on a five-yard return.
Hogan draw for 30, then overshoots Austin Hooper. No worries, as Hooper is wide open at the five, dropped at the two, on a play-action post the next snap. It's looking easy today, and if you had Remound Wright in fantasy football, you are looking good. He now has three rushing touchdowns and we're just 21 minutes in.
Stanford 21, Maryland 7, 8:44 remaining, first half
It would be 4-0 for the Pac-12 if this holds up, with Utah, Arizona State and USC in the black already. Alabama QB Greg McElroy is the color commentator and says that Christian McCaffrey could win a Heisman with the trajectory he's on; Flemming tries to walk him back. Second-quarter yards are 119 to nine, and the Cardinal are looking exactly like they should against a team they should beat. Three and out for the Terps, and Stanford will have a chance to drive the first nail into the coffin before the half.
McCaffrey has about his fifth jaw-dropping play of the half as he turns minus-eight into plus-23 on a dead-to-rights screen. Ten touches on the half for him. Props to David Shaw for going for a fourth and inches – a Wright blast up the middle converted – and Kevin Hogan for a scramble and dive the play before to create that situation.
First and goal at the nine with two minutes left in the half. Stanford is perfect in its three red zone attempts this half, and Greg McElroy notes that the Card scored touchdowns close to 80% of the time in goal-to-go situations; it was the opponents' 30 to 10 that was our Bermuda triangle. Of course McElroy would jinx it here, as after a Young run goes nowhere and a Hogan screen to Greg Taboada falls incomplete, Stanford will need to convert on third and nine to keep up that number near 80%.
On the payoff snap, Hogan is money, finding Cajuste for an eight-yard slant. Hogan's 11 of 15, now with a score, and McElroy just compared him to Peyton Manning. It's been a good first half.
Stanford 28, Maryland 7, 1:14 remaining first half
Maryland does try to point up some points over the last 1:17, but a James Vaughters sack stalls the effort. Still, after a catch and run on third and 16, the Terps have a fresh set of downs at the Card 40. Intentional grounding call burns Maryland's last timeout of the half, ball at midfield with 21 seconds to go. But again the Terps push ahead, eventually turning over the ball on downs with four seconds left. A knee later, it's halftime.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!