Unfitting End

A weoful performance by the Cardinal in the Seattle Bowl led to a 24-14 loss to Georgia Tech, a team without a head coach and its leading rusher.

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 for it.

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 pass.

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 field goal.

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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