Stanford's 24-14 defeat in the inaugural Seattle Bowl left a lot of Cardinalmaniacs scratching their heads. TW and staff was thoroughly outcoached by Georgia Tech staff that had recently lost George "3 letter winner" O'Leary. Randy Fasani, who had hoped to go out with a 10-2 record to end an injury plagued career, went 11-21 for 115 yard before being pulled in the fourth quarter.
Looking back, there really were no excuses. I would not say
the better team won, although it may not be out of the question.
The "bend but don't break" defense finally broke.
The pass rush was nowhere to be found (not unusual) and the
secondary was picked apart all day on short passes by QB George
Godsey. Stanford lost the field position game all day long
due to the difference between the two teams punters.
The pundits and experts, while predicting a record much
closer to .500, ended up being dead on about these shortcomings.
However, another problem that hurt Stanford in the Seattle
Bowl was inefficiency in the red-zone. In four total trips,
the Cardinal only had one touchdown and two field goals to show
Stanford won the opening toss and elected to receive the ball (in
twelve games, Stanford started with possession of the ball in
eleven of them). On the first play from scrimmage, Teyo
Johnson attempted to pass to Ryan Wells on a reverse, but the
ball fell incomplete. However, Gerogia Tech was flagged for
pass interference, giving Stanford a first down. After
eventually driving inside the five yard-line, Stanford attempted
to run the ball in. However, after three runs, Stanford
faced fourth and goal from about the two and a half. Kerry
Carter took the pitch, but could find no daylight and the
Cardinal was stymied on its opening possession.
But all was okay as the Yellow Jackets would go three and out and
Stanford would get the ball back in great field position, right?
Wrong. GT would go 97 yards slowly and inexorably in
16 plays and would finish the drive with a five yard run by Will
Glover. The Cardinal _efense looked particularly hapless on
that drive as Godsey was able to complete short pass after short
Stanford responded with yet another long drive, traveling from
their own 20 to the GT 18 but the end-zone was still strictly off
limits for the Cardinal. Mike Biselli capped the drive with
a 35 yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 11:27 in the
first half. The next Yellow Jacket drive would not be as
lengthy but the end result would be the same: touchdown, Georgia
Tech. Kelly Campbell burned Ruben Carter deep and Godsey
was able to find his receiver in stride for the score.
Georgia Tech looked ready to find the end-zone late in the
half, taking the ball inside the ten, but the defense was able to
make a stand and limit them to a field goal. Unfortunately,
the Yellow Jackets were still ahead by an impressive margin,
leading 17-3 at the break. For some unknown reason, the Stanford
coaching staff elected not to take time-outs on defense during
the goal-line stand, thereby failing to give its offense another
crack at scoring before the break. Horrible coaching!
In the second half, the Cardinal defense was finally beginning to
assert itself. However, the offense continued to be
inconsistent and was unable to sustain any long drives. After
completing a long pass the Luke Powell down to the two yard-line,
Stanford was once again stopped and had to settle for another
Fasani was then pulled and replaced by Chris Lewis, who finally
led Stanford to a touchdown. After making several key third
down conversions (one being an excellent pass to Brett Pierce
after being blitzed), Stanford found itself in a familiar
situation inside the GT 10 yard line. On fourth down, Lewis
threw the jump ball to Teyo Johnson who was able to come down
with it. After making the two-point conversion, Stanford
trailed only 17-14 with 11:39 remaining. After that, the
game became a defensive war with a lot of three-and-outs.
Stanford ended up losing their good field position because
of the difference of the punters.
With the Stanford defense worn down late in the game, Georgia
Tech was able to melt away the clock by passing the ball as
opposing to running it. With the Cardinal rarely blitzing
and the defenders on their heels, GA Tech ran the clock out and
won 24-14. It was an incredibly unimpressive performance by
Stanford and the brain trust was clearly out-coached
by the Tech interim staff.
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