Cardinal putting dent in record book

We all know there is something very special about this team, and where the Sheriff is putting this program. Terry steps up to give some numbers and stats to help quantify where the players, units and team are ranking in Cardinal history. Check it out!

Some statistical observations:

Stanford may have one of the best rushing offenses in school history.  So far this year, Stanford has run for 193.0 yards per game.  If Stanford continues at that pace, Stanford will have its 4th best rushing offense ever, and its best since 1969.  The top 5 rushing offenses in Stanford history are:

1957 -- 225.9 yards/game
1969 -- 196.1 yards/game
1955 -- 194.6 yards/game
1951 -- 187.6 yards/game
1965 -- 181.8 yards/game

(Note:  The stats available to me begin in 1951.)

Brian Allen, with 86.0 rushing yards per game, is on a pace to gain 946 rushing yards, which would be the 7th highest single-season total in Stanford history.  Kerry Carter, with 68.5 rushing yards per game, is on track for 754 rushing yards.  The two of them are combining for 154.5 yards per game, which projects to 1,700 rushing yards for the year.  That would make them one of the most effective running back combinations in Stanford history.  By comparison, here are the combined totals of some other notable Stanford running back combinations:

Vardell/Milburn, 1991:  1,682 yards
Bookman/Mitchell, 1995:  1,465 yards
Nelson/White, 1981:  1,431 yards

I don't have complete stats, so there may be some other running back combos that belong on this list (perhaps Nelson/Francis in 1977-78?).

Saturday's win over UCLA was that rare game where Stanford was able to win despite having more turnovers than its opponent (6 to 4). Stanford had not won a game when it lost the turnover battle since beating Oregon State during the Rose Bowl run in 1999, when Stanford had 4 turnovers to OSU's 3. Since the beginning of the Willingham era in 1995, Stanford now has a record of 5-23 when it has more turnovers than its opponent.  Stanford is 30-3 when it has fewer turnovers than its opponent.  Stanford is 5-8-1 when turnovers are even.

The 6 turnovers in the UCLA game tied Stanford's worst performance under Willingham.  Stanford also had 6 turnovers last year against Arizona.

Brian Allen now has 1,741 career rushing yards.  Last Saturday against UCLA, he moved from 10th up to 8th on Stanford's career rushing yardage list, passing Jon Volpe and Vincent White.  This coming Saturday, he needs 49 yards to jump up to 6th place, ahead of Ray Handley and Tommy Vardell.  At Brian's current pace, he would end up very close to Glyn Milburn, who is 5th in career rushing with 2,178 yards.  The top 4 (Darrin Nelson, Brad Muster, Anthony Bookman, and Mike Mitchell) appear to be out of Brian's reach.

Stanford's tight ends have 16 catches so far this year.  That puts the TEs on a pace to make 29 catches this year. Stanford is using the TE this year more than any other year since 1994, Bill Walsh's last year.  Here are the total catches by TEs since 1994:

1994 -- 36 catches (14% of team's total receptions)
1995 -- 24 catches (12%)
1996 -- 25 catches (12%)
1997 -- 16 catches (7%)
1998 -- 18 catches (7%)
1999 -- 12 catches (5%)
2000 -- 21 catches (11%)
2001 to date -- 16 catches (15%)

Stanford also is using its backs as receivers more than in recent years. Stanford's backs have 21 receptions through 6 games, which is 20% of Stanford's total receptions. In Bill Diedrick's 3 previous years as offensive coordinator (1998 - 2000), Stanford's backs had 17%, 11%, and 13% of Stanford's total receptions. 

Conversely, Stanford is using its wide receivers relatively less than in recent years.  Stanford's wide receivers have 64% of Stanford's receptions so far this year, compared to 77%, 84%, and 76% in Diedrick's first 3 years.

These patterns have a lot to do with the available personnel.  With Walters and Pitts at WR, Stanford tried to get the ball to the wide receivers as much as possible.  Now, Stanford has talented receivers at every position, and is spreading the ball around more.

Luke Powell currently is Stanford's all-time leader in career yards per reception (22.4) and career yards per punt return (15.1).

Mike Biselli is about to break into Stanford's all-time top 10 in scoring. He is now 11th with 178 career points, just two points behind Ken Margerum. Last Saturday, Mike moved into 7th place in career field goals with 25, and 3rd place in career extra points with 103.

Kerry Carter's 20 career rushing TDs place him 5th in Stanford history.  The top 4 are:

Tommy Vardell -- 37
Brad Muster -- 27
Darrin Nelson -- 24
Mike Mitchell -- 21

Willingham's win against UCLA was the 40th of his Stanford career.  That ties Willingham with Chuck Taylor for the 3rd most football wins in Stanford history:

Pop Warner -- 71 wins
John Ralston -- 55 wins
Chuck Taylor -- 40 wins
Tyrone Willingham -- 40 wins

(Note: James Lanagan had 49 wins, but 26 of them came while Stanford was playing rugby instead of football in the pre-WWI era.)

Coach Willingham's Stanford career at Stanford can be broken into three phases.  From the time he arrived at Stanford in 1995 until the middle of the 1997 season, he had a strong record of 18-10-1.  From the middle of 1997 until late in the 1998 season, Stanford endured a painful losing streak, going 2-13.  Starting with the Washington State game in November 1998 (the one where walk-on RB Jon Eide scored the clinching touchdown), Willingham's record has been an impressive 20-11.

Coach Jack Christiansen was fired largely because of his lack of success against USC and UCLA.  He went 1-8-1 against those two schools during his 5 seasons as Stanford's coach (1972-76).  Times have changed.  Coach Willingham has gone 5-1 against USC and UCLA over the last 3 years.

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