Despite a sluggish start, Stanford cruised to victory over
Boston College 38-22. The balanced Stanford offense, led by
Ryan Wells, proved to be too much for the Eagles.
Stanford won the coin toss and elected to receive. However, the usual potent offense came out flat. The opening drive lasted just three plays, which consisted of two incompletions with a two yard run sandwiched in the middle. After Boston College went three and out, Coy Wire broke through to block the ensuing punt, which was recovered by Alex Smith at the BC 14. But the offense could not take advantage of the excellent field position that they were given. Randy Fasani threw two incompletions (both were intended to Luke Powell), then was stripped of the ball at the 23 by Scott Bradley. Antonio Baray recovered for the defense. Six plays, minus seven yards, one turnover. Not the way you want to start the year.
Dana Bible, known for his brand of "boreball," called for a flea-flicker to open the Eagles' drive. However, Brian St. Pierre overthrew his man, Dedrick Dewalt. After picking up a first down, Bible called for Dewalt to take the ball on a reverse play. Dewalt ended up burning the Stanford defense for 28 yards down to the Stanford 28. The drive was also aided by a Stanford personal foul, moving the ball to the 14. Three plays later, St. Pierre connected with Ryan Read in the endzone, who somehow held onto the ball after sustaining a big hit from Jason White.
The next time Boston College touched the ball, they had less success. Colin "Redwood" Branch stopped the dangerous William Green for a loss of four yards at the BC 36. On third and 12, St. Pierre found Dewalt, but he was limited to just eight yards, and they were forced to punt. On the return, "Cool Hand" Luke Powell ended up shaking, juking, spinning, and scampering his way to a 49 yards to the Eagle 42 with 2:30 in the quarter.
Stanford cashed in on the excellent field position. Kerry Carter started the drive breaking tackles for a twelve yard gain. On the next play, Fasani kept the ball for an additional eleven to the 19. Then, Stanford got on the board. Fasani stepped aside to avoid one defender, spun around to get away from another, and delivered a perfect pass to an open Nick Sebes. It was Sebes' first collegiate reception and touchdown. The score was tied 7-7 with 2:04 remaining in the quarter.
After trading punts, Simba Hodari intercepted St. Pierre at the Stanford 36. Brian Allen started the drive with three consecutive runs, netting 14 yards. Two plays later, the team scored again when Fasani completed his pass to Wells over the middle. Wells side-stepped a defender and ran away from another for the score and Stanford had its first lead at 14-7.
On their next drive, Boston College could not hold onto the ball once again. Brian Taylor picked off a pass at the BC 31 and returned it 32 yards to the 9 yard line. Kerry Carter carried the ball twice in a row, the first time for four yards. The second time, he punched it in from five yards out. The lead was then 21-7 with 7:36 remaining in the half.
Later, the Eagles had the opportunity to close the gap after Eric Johnson, who had been having a pretty good game, shanked a punt, giving them possession at the Stanford 37. But they could not capitalize. After a 20 yard run by Green, the offense bogged down. Kevin McMyler attempted a 33 yard field goal, but missed it wide to the right. Stanford took a 21-7 advantage into the break.
Special teams play was a concern coming into the game because Stanford did not have a game under its belt yet. Disaster ended up striking early in the third quarter when Eric Johnson could not hold onto a snap and fumbled the ball. However, the defense rose to the occasion once again. Austin Lee dropped Dewalt for a nine yard loss. St. Pierre then threw back to back incompletions. This time, McMyler was true from 45 yards out to cut the lead to 21-10. The Eagles struck again with 3:19 in the quarter when Ryan Read scored on a 23 yard pass. However, Matt Leonard (who had two sacks in the game) blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the score 21-16. Boston College never completely recovered after that.
Ryan Wells responded right away with yet another long touchdown reception. Fasani ran a play fake, found Wells over the middle, who broke a tackle for the 69 yard score.
From there, Stanford was able to put Boston College away. Stanford took possession at their own three yard line, but had little trouble moving the ball. Both Brian Allen and Kerry Carter were able to pick up key first downs to keep the drive alive while keeping the clock running. But it was Teyo Johnson that finished the drive. He caught two passes over the span of three plays, with the second being a 14 yard jump ball for a touchdown. Stanford had traveled 97 yards and had taken 6:11 off of the clock.
The Eagles were unable to get anywhere on their next drive. Matt Leonard sacked St. Pierre for a ten yard loss at the BC 18. McMyler only managed 30 yards on the punt. On top of that, Boston College was called for kick-catch interference, giving Stanford the ball at the 31. They ended up going three and out, but Mike Biselli was able to make the 41 yard field goal attempt.
Boston College scored a meaningless touchdown late in the game on a 20 yard Jamal Burke reception. McMyler missed the extra point to make the final score 38-22.
Ryan Wells with his 138 yards on 6 receptions gets the
game ball. Both of his touchdowns were real game breakers.
The entire offensive line comes in a close second.
They provided Allen and Carter with large holes all night
long and never allowed Fasani to be sacked. Barring injury,
they should be a real strength of the team.
It was a real coming out party for Matt Leonard, who had two
sacks and a blocked extra point. Hopefully he will be the
answer to Willie Howard.
Luke Powell used The Force and was able to turn the entire game turned around with his 49 yard punt return. My guess is that he'll return at least one punt for a touchdown this year.