Pregame - Take the usual disclaimer about the transitive property not applying in sports, but it was hard to ignore the 13-13 halftime score between Washington and Oklahoma on my drive down here to Spartan Stadium. The casual Cardinalmaniac™ cast a dismissing glance at the 35-29 result between the Huskies and San Jose State last week in Seattle. It's a terrible Washington team, so who cares about the Spartans' success through much of that game? Hmm... Maybe the 323 yards passing by Adam Tafralis on 80% completions should be ascribed the appropriate gravity.
Pregame - This game should be (close to) a sell-out. But it's straight up 3 o'clock right now, and the stands of this 30,456-seat stadium are not even a third full. This is absurd. I'm guessing that loads of fans, particularly the visiting section from Stanford that possesses two-thirds of the seats today, have no clue about the traffic and parking. Still, the sight of such an anticipated game for San Jose State - hosting Stanford for only the fourth time ever as well as this as their home opener - is inordinately underwhelming.
Pregame - Stanford's captains are approaching midfield. Senior wide receiver Mark Bradford is a captain for the second straight game. He is joined by fifth-year senior offensive guard Jon Cochran, redshirt sophomore defensive end Pannel Egboh and redshirt sophomore cornerback/specials teams Wopamo Osaisai... The Spartans win the toss and defer the ball to the second half.
Pregame - Both fans are on their feet for San Jose State as the Spartans run onto the field.
3:07pm - Stanford will receive the kickoff. Note the frontline of the return team: (left to right) Mike Miller, Landon Johnson, Peter Griffin, Bo McNally and Thaddeus Chase. This is the group that was justly criticized for leaking badly last week... In the back we again have Anthony Kimble returning, and the second returner is Jason Evans. That "off" spot which is primarily used for blocking was manned previously by Marcus McCutcheon, but he is out for a month with a knee injury... The kickoff is deep and taken for a touchback.
3:10 - The first play has Trent Edwards feel pressure, and he loses the ball while he is hit from the backside. The apparent fumble is run in for a SJSU touchdown... but the officials rule it an incomplete pass. Hmm, that feels like the opposite side of the coin from the first play from scrimmage last week at Oregon.
3:10 - Stanford on 2nd & 10 quickly goes to Kimble as a single-back with a three-wide set; Mike Miller is into the game. A wide receiver screen to Mark Bradford behind Miller picks up three yards.
3:11 - A designed run on third down for Edwards? Dangerous. And it doesn't pick up the first down. An ominous start all-around for the Cardinal offense after a poor performance last week with 10 points in their opener.
3:12 - Special teams is not much improved, with Jay Ottovegio punting the ball only 33 yards. San Jose State has great field position at their own 43-yardline.
3:13 - San Jose State strangely used little of speedy Yonus Davis, their 5'7" tailback, last week. Only nine carries for their most explosive playmaker. But they're intent on employing him early today. He runs the first two plays for SJSU, the second ripping off 17 yards and bringing life to the building Spartans in the stands. I guess San Jose State is more anxious to run the ball this week, after seeing the Ducks dehumanize Stanford on the ground seven days ago.
3:13 - For the record, Stanford is without its two most experienced cornerbacks in the starting lineup. Neither redshirt junior Nick Sanchez nor senior Brandon Harrison are on the field. Redshirt junior Tim Sims and redshirt sophomore Wopamo Osaisai are the starting corners. Though this game was billed as another spread offense from Stanford's opponent, we see the Cardinal's base defense on the field with four defensive backs, four linebackers (including fifth-year senior Mike Silva!) and three defensive linemen.
3:16 - The Spartans are employing a ball control offense with mostly running and short passes. The efficiency, coupled with their team speed (particularly the darting Yonus) has them pushing into the red zone on their opening series.
3:17 - An end-around nearly scores for SJSU, but they're knocking at the door on the two-yardline. Stanford is playing on paper their weakest opponent of the year, and already they are back on their heels. This is not what the doctor ordered after an ugly loss last week. Moreover, a quick touchdown would transfer all kinds of momentum and confidence to the Spartans. They have shown us too many times in the past that they are an intrinsically dangerous opponent for Stanford, but this exacerbates the threat.
3:20 - That is two plays that looked like they might cross the goalline, but the Cardinal "D" holds tight. The second play looked like a fumble, but there is no replay capability currently working in the press box, so I can't get a second look. Stanford does not challenge... Now Tafralis keeps it and goes over his left guard into the endzone. San Jose State strikes with first blood, 7-0. Here we go...
3:23 - On the Stanford sideline, offensive players are chomping at the bit to get back into the game. I see Traverso standing with Dray. Could we go to a double-tight formation to open up this series?
3:24 - It looks like Stanford has shaken up the second level of its kickoff return. Senior fullback Nick Frank is playing up close behind the front line.
3:25 - Bradford limped off during the first series and indeed is not on the field to start the second series. That's trouble. Walk-on redshirt sophomore Kelton Lynn is in his place, just like wide receivers coach Tucker Waugh told us this week he would do... Anthony Kimble runs for a loss of one yard to open the series.
3:25 - Kimble is out, and Gerhart takes the field. Emeka Nnoli also replaces Nick Frank at fullback. The play is a pass to Gerhart in the flat, which picks up eight yards.
3:26 - Edwards keeps it on third down and picks up Stanford's initial first down of the game... Now it's Gerhart up the middle. Nothing. There is nothing redeeming in the early going for Stanford's running game, and that was the area intended to be fixed after last week.
3:28 - Nifty playcall! Edwards fakes the screen pass to Frank on the left side, then swivels to throw instead a screen to Kimble on the right, running behind big Cochran. That is Stanford's biggest gain of the day, good for 16 yards out to the Stanford 47.
3:29 - Kimble runs on a 2nd & 8 and has to dodge a pair of Spartans in the backfield, then springs ahead to pick up a couple yards. The ball comes loose but is ruled down.
3:30 - 3rd & 6 at the 50-yardline, and freshman wide receiver Richard Sherman is into the game. He runs a comeback and is hit by Edwards at the 36 for a first down. That is Sherman's first college completion and a big play. If the first 15 plays are still being scripted by Walt Harris in this game, then that call was designed, but would Sherman have come into the game if Bradford were still healthy? Regardless, the catch has to help the freshman's confidence. He just showed us something.
3:31 - Sherman is in place of Lynn, as the 'Z' in the offense opposite Evan Moore. With Gerhart in the backfield, that puts two true frosh on the field... Third down, and Edwards rolls out to his right with nothing open. He shovels the ball just before being tackled out of bounds. The home fans want a flag, but they should still be excited to see Stanford punt and not answer with a score.
3:33 - Well, now that excitement should be surrendered. San Jose State fumbles the punt return, which is kicked forward to the onrush of Stanford coverage. Long snapper Brent Newhouse nearly lands on it, but right behind him is Frank. Stanford ball at the 17-yardline. Wasn't San Jose State +3 in turnovers last week?
3:34 - Stanford predictably goes for the endzone on the first play, hoping to seize the momentum after a big turnover... Edwards uses play-action and hits Sherman open running across the endzone. Big play and momentum swing. Sherman must be sky high right now. He's such a neat kid, and he deserves all the success that comes his way. Way to go, "Dick Sherman," as he was dubbed by some laughing teammates this summer.
3:35 - The Cardinal are hit with a delay of game penalty on the extra point. That moves back newbie placekicker Aaron Zagory, who does not need that kind of help... And he misses the PAT wide left. What a killer. San Jose State leads 7-6. That puts a little air back in the home team. It looked like freshman nose tackle Sione Fua was the player late onto the field, which led to the penalty. Very costly mistake. These are the lumps you take with freshmen, not only on offense and defense, but also on special teams. But honestly, that's a five-yard penalty and an automatic gimme field goal. Zagory HAS to hit that, even piss-drunk barefoot in the snow.
3:38 - Are you kidding me??? What another fortuitous lift for the Cardinal. Redshirt junior kicker Derek Belch lifts the kickoff high and short. It lands on the ground and rolls back toward the wave of Cardinal & White. Redshirt junior Peter Griffin falls on the ball for Stanford's second recovery on special teams today (although this is a live ball and not technically a fumble recovery). The Cardinal take over at the 19-yardline. That is their second time to start in the red zone off a SJSU turnover.
3:40 - Edwards runs on 2nd & 9 with a little bit of daylight before going down on the 13... Third down does not pick it up, and Stanford is going for it on 4th & 2 on the 11-yardline. There is NO confidence in the kicking game. I seriously think Stanford has to give Ottovegio a look with field goals this week in practice. I want to also call for the kicking competition to reopen and allow Belch to compete, but I admit that he had his cracks in the spring and in fall camp and never came through. Still, something has to be better than the status quo.
3:41 - Edwards hits Moore in the back of the endzone on a play eerily similar to what scored with Sherman just a bit ago. Plenty is going wrong for Stanford thus far on offense, defense and special teams, but turnovers are king and the Card just converted two quickies for 13 points. Walt Harris by the way kicks the extra point after the second touchdown and does not go for the two-point conversion.
3:46 - Dick Tomey said he'd like to put #2 quarterback Sean Flynn (who also wears "#2") into today's game, and he does so on this series... Brandon Harrison is into the game at cornerback (in place of Sims) and quickly makes his presence felt. A hit in the backfield may not be ruled as a tackle, but Harrison was the reason the following swarm of Stanford defenders brought Patrick Perry down... Harrison does make the solo tackle two plays later... And then on the next play! The injured shoulder does not look like a problem with aggressive and physical tackling by the senior. Fun to watch, and good for the heart to see him bounce back from last week's injury.
3:50 - That's the end of the first quarter. Starting the second quarter, San Jose State has 3rd & 6 and tries to pitch to Davis, but he has hulking Pannel Egboh in his face. That's a loss of three yards, and the Spartans have to punt for the first time.
3:51 - Harrison may be back on defense, but he is not lining up as the punt returner like he did a week ago. Redshirt freshman Chris Hobbs is there instead, in what I believe is his first appearance in a college football game... The punt is short and left alone. Harrison was on the field as an outside protector, incidentally.
3:52 - Sherman is still on the field as the flanker in Bradford's stead. Edwards goes to him, but Sherman drops the pass on the right sideline just before being hit... That sets up 2nd & 10, which is a Gerhart run for no gain. We love those freshmen, but they are human.
3:54 - What a WILD third down! Edwards races around in the backfield when right tackle Jeff Edwards lets a Spartan through like a Disneyland turnstile. Edwards (the QB) reverses field, somewhat dangerously, into the endzone and risks a safety. His decision pays off as he runs free to the left sideline. Gerhart is the blocker in front of him, and it's uncertain whether the fleet-footed quarterback could get 10 yards. Shockingly, Edwards throws the ball on the run for Moore streaking down the same (left) sideline. The ball goes over the defensive back, Moore bounces it in the air with one hand, pulls it down, and then pulls the tackler ahead for an extra couple yards. That goes for 48 yards. It started off with a failure, but what an exciting play!
3:55 - Momentum continues with an explosive and powerful Gerhart run, ripped up the middle for 12 yards. Love this kid.
3:56 - Edwards hits redshirt freshman tight end James Dray in the endzone for a 19-yard touchdown. Dray is most gifted as a receiver, and he flashes that ability on this play reaching up with his downfield arm to gently tap the high pass back to himself... Another PAT here and no two-point conversion attempt. 20-7, Stanford. Edwards already has three touchdowns on 8-of-13 passing for 135 yards.
3:59 - Belch kicked the previous two times high and short, but this third kickoff faces the opposite direction and goes with the wind - deep, out the back of the endzone. That is better field position for Stanford's defense to start.
4:01 - Tafralis is back into the game, and you could so clearly see this play develop badly. He looks right at his receiver, and redshirt freshman outside linebacker Clinton Snyder stares right back into his eyes. Clinton leaps to snare the pass off to the right side, running it back 10 yards to the 20-yardline. That once again is stellar field position for Stanford... However, a penalty on the return for blocking in the back moves the ball back to the 30.
4:03 - Stanford has struck with the pass each previous time in this territory, but they look intent upon proving that they can run the ball here. The first two plays hand off to Kimble for seven yards and then Nnoli for four and the first down... More Kimble on the next play, a three-yard run on first down.
4:04 - There is some of Kimble's speed, taking the ball past defenders on the left sideline, and then flashing his athleticism to leap another defender. All told, he picks up 13 yards and moves Stanford to First & Goal at the three.
4:05 - Hovering near the goalline, Stanford goes to its "heavy" formation of Frank behind Nnoli. Frank takes the ball from the one-yardline and leaps high over the pile for the touchdown. Zagory again kicks the PAT. 27-7, Stanford. That early jubilation for the Spartans is a distant memory, and Stanford is now starting to flex its muscles in all phases of the game.
4:07 - Belch blasts this ball 15 yards past the goalline and well out of the back of the endzone. Impressive, even with a little wind, considering the new one-inch tee being used this year in college football.
4:08 - SJSU is going back to where they were first successful: Yonus Davis. He runs to the right side for a quick eight yards before being chased out of bounds... Davis on the next carry goes left and grabs another five yards... Another Davis run for another five yards. He can be brought down once confronted with a Cardinal, but the play is predicated by the initial blocks in the backfield. By the time a Stanford defender reaches him, Davis has darted upfield for a solid gain. Stanford has to defeat blocks and hit the scatback early in the play.
4:10 - A 15-yard facemask penalty against redshirt freshman Will Powers pulls San Jose State across midfield... The next play, San Jose State throws deep for the first time today. James Jones leaps high for the jump ball at the five-yardline, with Tim Sims failing to make any play on the ball. Sims I believe came onto the field just a play or two earlier after Osaisai whiffed on an open-field tackle of John Broussard on a quick pattern. Sims is pulled right back off the field, replaced by Osaisai. Through nearly six quarters of the 2006 season, we have rarely seen Stanford's opponents try to go over the top with the passing game, but don't let that be confused with the Cardinal shoring up that part of their pass defense.
4:13 - Davis gets into the endzone on a six-yard scamper. San Jose State strikes back and reclaims a shred of momentum. They risked going into the locker room on the receiving end of a big hammer the way this game was going. Powers' penalty got that 80-yard drive rolling, and Sims' failed deep ball defense gave it some gas.
4:15 - We are hearing in the press box that Bradford's sprained right ankle has him "doubtful" to return to the game. Are Booties posting on the message boards about the "TheBootleg.com front page curse?" I published a story earlier today with Bradford's photo, currently sitting atop the front page of the website.
4:15 - We see San Jose State kick off for the first time against the wind, and that also goes short. Jason Evans comes up to take the ball and slashes for 23 yards out to the 35. Tack on another five yards for a facemask penalty (the milder variety), and Stanford starts happily at their own 40.
4:16 - The Cardinal go to the air quickly, on that bubble (wide receiver) screen again. This time it hits Sherman running behind the block of Moore. It picks up a nice six yards... Very next play is the same call but on the opposite (right) side of the field. 11 yards this time.
4:18 - Moore is mugged in the middle of the field for pass interference, but the back judge struggles to find the flag in his pocket. He grabs it and throws it late enough that the home fans boo. It was an obvious call, though, and Stanford is now down to the SJSU 28-yardline.
4:19 - Solid six-yard pickup by Gerhart on first down. Not a highlight play compared to other Cardinal fireworks today, but picking up that kind of green on first down is hugely valuable for the offense. You can do so much with 2nd & 4... Like another bubble screen to Sherman behind Moore fox eight yards.
4:20 - Edwards finds Moore in the back left corner of the endzone on what looks like such an easy play. I don't think the pitch-and-catch for those two was that easy when they hit the beaches in Hawaii for five days before training camp. The execution was easy, and it helps that Edwards had a 6'7" target running behind the much smaller Spartan cornerback. Zagory's kick is good, which puts Stanford up 20 again at 34-14.
4:23 - That's two touchdowns already for Moore. His three catches have cleared 73 yards. Bradford is out, but Moore is showing that he can be "the" guy in the passing offense for buddy Trent Edwards. Sherman is nicely picking up slack as well - his five receptions lead all Stanford receivers. Anybody out there still questioning the burning of Sherman's redshirt last week in the waning moments of the Oregon game?
4:26 - Back to the action, San Jose State has time to drive for another score before the half. They have the ball near midfield at their own 46... Tafralis goes deep down the left sideline, but the ball is a little out of bounds. Stanford is ready with safety help, and fifth-year senior David Lofton is just chomping at the bit to hammer the Spartan receiver. The 6'4" athlete lowers his helmet for the kill but pulls up slightly with no completion.
4:28 - San Jose State gets across midfield and moves the chains... Then it's a quick pass to James Jones on the left side, beating Osaisai in the open field and racing ahead to the 28-yardline. With 1:13 on the clock, SJSU calls a timeout.
4:31 - Tafralis Looks goes again to Jones, and this time he beats Sims and bursts up the sideline for 11 yards. I understand the sex appeal of throwing deep, but it still look to me like the Spartans' best bet to stay with high-percentage plays that find extra yardage with their quickness.
4:32 - Tafralis has to scramble and has Silva closing fast, but he finds running back James T. Collier coming back just short of the goalline. Fifth-year senior strong safety Trevor Hooper was caught staring at the quarterback and drifted off Collier, which cost the Cardinal the touchdown... That drive went 80 yards in three-plus minutes. Big, big drive for San Jose State. The questions for the Cardinal defense continue. 34-21, Stanford.
4:34 - Stanford starts with the ball on their own 19 and less than a minute in the game. Remember that the new rule this year starts the game clock on the first play of a drive as soon as the play clock begins. If Stanford wants to wind this down and go into the locker room, that rule helps. Indeed, San Jose State calls a timeout after a safe three-yard run by Nnoli. There are 15 seconds on the clock, and the Spartans have only one timeout. The math will not allow them to force a punt, so long as Stanford runs the ball and does not stop the clock themselves the next two plays.
4:36 - Edwards keeps this ball and falls ahead for two yards. San Jose State calls their last timeout with nine seconds in the half. The Spartans are spinning their wheels, ostensibly, but there is no harm. And if Stanford fumbles on any play, they can capitalize... While we wait through this timeout, I want to go look at the over/under for this game. We have 55 points already in the first half... Most books had it at 54 or 55 points. Did any Cardinalmaniacs™ make some easy coin with the over today?
4:39 - Third down harmlessly takes us to the half... Look at the completion percentages of the two starting quarterbacks: Edwards is at 71% and Tafralis at 82%.
4:50 - Just finished a little airtime with Topher Anderson on KZSU. If I didn't do too badly, they'll try to have me on a bunch of games this year during the half. I'm a little rusty and rambled during that session, but if you want to hear some of my gametime thoughts at the halfway point of Stanford games this fall, tune into the "Zoo" at 90.1 FM in the Bay Area or at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu. Topher and the crew are really doing a great job this year with football broadcasts, and you might want to listen to them in Stanford Stadium or with the volume turned down on your TV throughout the year. We have a long and friendly relationship with the guys at KZSU, so we'll always be happy to point you their direction, but they have a particularly experienced and knowledgeable crew this year. It's a good way to listen to Stanford on Saturdays.
5:00 - Belch opens the second half with another kickoff (with the wind) unreturnable. Stanford starts Harrison and Osaisai at cornerback... San Jose State opens with a new look, the option, pitching to Davis and picking up 13 yards.
5:01 - The second play is a quick pass out to Broussard in the flat, hoping to continue some of those open field gains against the Cardinal cornerbacks, but this time Harrison is in harm's way and plasters the receiver for just a two-yard gain.
5:03 - It's more Yonus Davis, this time for 36 yards on the pitch from Tafralis. Only a Hooper tackle as Davis cut back across the field saved a touchdown. The ball is to the 19, and the Spartans are charging hard out of the gates. This game is long from over.
5:04 - First & Goal at the Stanford eight-yardline - Tafralis pitches to Perry, who beats Osaisai in the open field and then carries Cardinal tacklers (including Clinton Snyder) into the endzone. 34-28, Stanford. We're down to a one-score game. Hold on, folks.
5:06 - Stanford starts at the 35-yardline when the SJSU kickoff goes out of bounds... On the first play, Kimble is in the backfield and races ahead for eight yards. That's what the Cardinal want... Frank gets the quick hand-off on the next play and spins carrying a defender for a first down.
5:09 - Kimble carries on 2nd & 10 for eight yards. These runs are what makes for a more sustainable offense. Of course, this is the San Jose State defense, which will give up ungodly yardage all year.
5:11 - Stanford catches a break on a sack of Edwards, when he is spun down by his facemask. That's 15 yards instead of a negative play. Stanford is now to the Spartan 26-yardline (after some deliberation by the officials on the spot).
5:13 - Kimble gets just one yard on that first-down carry, though he worked hard to not lose yardage and fought pretty well to get where he did.
5:14 - Stanford turns it over for the first time when Kimble carries after catching a screen pass. He was tackled around his ankles by one defender when another raced in and knocked the ball loose from behind. Worth a replay challenge by Harris? Maybe not. Looks like the ball was out before his knee hit. Hey, in a game like this where neither defense can reliably make a stop, that turnover could be huge. Stanford needs to fire on all cylinders on offense the way their defense is being treated by the Spartans and Yonus Davis.
5:16 - Boy, Davis runs hard and moves so quickly. He doesn't lose anything when he cuts, and that has him into the second and third level of the Stanford defense in a hurry. This drive opens with a 31-yarder to the right side.
5:18 - Next play, wide receiver James Jones runs the ball on an end-around to the left side, sees Udeme Udofia in front of him, reverses field and takes it back to the right and all the way for a 42-yard touchdown. Bam and bam! The extra point puts San Jose State ahead 35-34. That missed PAT by Zagory looms large right now.
5:20 - Kimble takes the kickoff just barely tip-toeing inside the sideline, and of course he is pinned with no hope of a return. Stanford starts on its own 14. The Cardinal have been coached to catch that ball with one foot out of bounds, which will draw the penalty flag against the kicking team. Instead Stanford is starting in a hole.
5:21 - On second down, Edwards dumps off to Nnoli as a safety valve and picks up six yards. 3rd & 1 feels big here, even though we're just midway through the third quarter... And this time Edwards looks first to Nnoli out of the backfield. His catch and run behind the block of Sherman gobbles up 23 yards. Nnoli is having a nice game.
5:22 - Edwards finds nothing downfield and scrambles to his left. Gerhart is the man who can block for him, but the freshman just doesn't look like he has a clue what to do on that play in that position when things break down. Edwards still gets seven yards, so no harm done.
5:23 - Gerhart more than makes up for it on the next play, a powerful run up the middle which runs out of a would-be Spartan defender's arms and nearly races to the goalline. He picks up 38 yards and would have had the touchdown had he taken an angle to the left corner instead of the right. Easy for me to say from up here, of course. But that decision would have been worth a touchdown to Stanford.
5:25 - Edwards throws his first interception of the year, and at a terrible time. Third down in the red zone, after missing Moore on the previous play Edwards throws behind him here when it was six points if thrown in front and a split-second sooner. That is a very un-Trent-like play.
5:28 - The Spartans are still working with the hot hand on offense, running Davis for 11 yards on first down... Second down is a pitch to Davis that is slower to develop, and Harrison swallows him up in the open field. Still, a four-yard gain. Sims, incidentally, is the cornerback on the opposite side of the field.
5:30 - 3rd & 3... and SJSU lets the play clock wind down to zero's. Now it's 3rd & 8 after the delay of game penalty. Will it matter? Davis is picking up eight yards on most of his touches today.
5:31 - That made no sense. Tafralis runs the option and keeps it. Short of your linemen running, that puts the ball in the hands of your slowest player on offense. Three yards short, SJSU has to punt... Spartans fans hold their breath on a high snap that is skillfully hauled in by Waylon Prather. And he boots the ball 42 yards with no return. That is only the second SJSU punt of the day.
5:34 - Stanford is facing a long field of 80 yards and needs to establish something on offense. They of course need to score, and Edwards needs to bounce back from his worst series of throws this game.
5:35 - False start on redshirt sophomore left tackle Ben Muth. That's a very sour start for the Stanford offense... Kimble on 1st & 15 runs straight ahead, with not a lot of room, but picks up six yards with some powerful running.
5:36 - Edwards rolls out on 2nd & 9 to the right, with Mike Miller in front of him. Edwards decides to run, and points at the nearest defender to block. Miller turns upfield and runs to a totally different area. Edwards gets blasted after picking up four yards. That could have been a first down, and that could have hurt the Cardinal's golden quarterback. Miller is a redshirt junior but still so young on experience. He looked like a lost pup on that play.
5:38 - Third down pass from Edwards goes to Matt Traverso just across the first down marker, but the fifth-year senior tight end drops it. He might be hurt on the play, too.
5:39 - Stanford punts and sees San Jose State run the ball back to the 50. Great field position to stretch this lead. Stanford really does not look much better than last week. Other than the two turnovers handed to them, special teams still looks like a liability.
5:42 - A couple early stops against the run set up 3rd & 8... Perry runs for seven yards, setting up an interesting 4th & 1... They're going for it... And it looks like Collier was stood up at the line of scrimmage. The Cardinal coaches are jumping on the sideline at the sight. Time for a measurement... It's short by half a yard. Stanford takes over on downs.
5:44 - That's a big lift for Stanford. What will they do with it? Gerhart is in the backfield to start the series from the Cardinal 41, and carries for five yards straight ahead... Gerhart again, and he has the first down before he is even met by a Spartan. It bears repeating that he hits the hole so hard, which is maybe more important than his power in picking up yardage.
5:45 - Gerhart again for five more yards... Now the quick hand-off to Nnoli, who rolls over the pile for three yards. That sets up a big 3rd & 2. Frank is in for Nnoli... Gerhart get the ball and is met in the backfield, but he makes a move that half employs a stiff arm and half hurdles the defender. He darts ahead for the first down and more.
5:47 - After all those Gerhart runs, Kimble comes into the game and Stanford uses play-action. Edwards looks to Sherman running ahead of single coverage inside the 10 but throws too high... Next play sees Kimble devoured in the backfield for a loss.
5:48 - On 3rd & 13, Edwards looks to Dray on a comeback, but it is well short of the marker. Time to punt... On the punt, Ottovegio places it inside the 10. The ball rolls and Cardinal players are there (one knocks it back, but another racing in knocks it forward afterward) but cannot down it before the goalline. That could have been huge to pin the Spartans back, but instead the ball comes out to the 20.
5:53 - Quick pass from Tafralis to Jones gets four yards. That is only his second pass this half.
5:56 - Injury timeout with Udeme Udofia on the ground. Powers is on the field. This is a young group of linebackers. 3rd & 5. Big play... The short pass to Broussard picks up seven yards running behind blockers.
5:57 - It's time to watch the clock. We're now under five minutes left in regulation. The missed Zagory PAT is the difference in the game, which is just mind-numbing. I said since the spring that kicking would cost Stanford dearly this year, but I thought that would come on field goals. Losing on a missed PAT is just so stupid. SJSU is milking the clock while also moving the ball toward an insurance score.
5:58 - Another SJSU first down, now down to the Stanford 37. This looks like trouble, folks. The Cardinal Nation will absolutely implode with an 0-2 start that is every bit as bad as it looks on paper.
5:59 - Quick pass to Jones sets up 3rd & 6. The pass was thrown to the sideline, which risked stopping the clock, but Jones stays in bounds. The clock is under three minutes. When do you start to use timeouts?
6:00 - Stanford makes a big stop with a big tackle for loss. The Tafralis-to-Broussard pass ends with Sims in his face. Broussard turns around to try and reverse field but only loses more yardage. Seven yards backward, and Stanford burns a timeout to stop the clock. It will be 4th & 12 at the Stanford 39.
6:03 - San Jose State punts, and the ball takes a Stanford bounce coming backward to the 20-yardline. Stanford has 2:12 on the clock. Can you imagine kicking a field goal to win, based on Zagory's results thus far this year? Walt Harris will want to go 80 yards if at all possible. Of course, Stanford has yet to score this half. That is incredible, after they put up 34 points in the first 26 minutes.
6:05 - Who is on the field for Stanford to finish the game? Ben Muth, Josiah Vinson, Alex Fletcher, Jon Cochran, Jeff Edwards on the offensive line. Moore and Sherman are wide. Edwards is in shotgun, with Kimble and Dray as split backs.
6:06 - Edwards keeps it and dives head first to get the first down and 11 yards. That stops the clock with 1:58.
6:06 - Edwards hits Sherman down at the 47 on the right side. He leaps to ensure that he brings the ball into his body. Quick success already on this hurry-up drive... The next play sees Edwards throw it away, however. 1:41 on the clock.
6:07 - Miller is on the field in as a third wideout. Edwards hits Moore for a first down at the SJSU 40... but he fumbles the the ball when hit by Ryno Gonzalez. That's all she wrote. SJSU recovers and runs it back to the Stanford 43. 1:29 to go.
6:09 - I didn't realize they were reviewing the play. Of course, it's still a fumble. Looked pretty obvious... Now, do you let SJSU score and try to come back from the eight-point deficit and tie the game? If you cannot make a quick stop (Stanford has two timeouts), it's something to think hard about.
6:10 - Perry runs for a huge 12-yard gain, including a splendid spin move, to seal the game... Spartans are going to kneel it out, and Stanford will not use timeouts.
6:11 - The clock has hit 0:00. Spartans are dancing on the field. This their first ever home win against Stanford, and first win in the series since 2000.
6:12 - This is not a good day to be in the business of covering Cardinal Football. Time to head down for post-game interviews.
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