The Sun Devils Get Scorched!

"Call 911!" Stanford was on fire as the hometown heroes got over on the same sinister Sun Devils that had crushed them in the previous three meetings. Toby Gerhart led a sizzling Cardinal assault that hung 237 rushing yards on one of the nation's top run defenses while QB Andrew Luck continued to shine. Scott Cooley was at the post-game and reports in on the Cardinal's 33-14 Homecoming win.

Post-ASU Game Press Conference: Stanford Quotes

 

Running Back Toby Gerhart (#7)

 

On emotion of the game coming off of two tough losses…

 

"We've had two rough weeks the last two weeks. Like we said earlier in the week, we truly believe we should be 6-1. This week we wanted to get back to the ways we were, and it helped with homecoming and being at home again. It was a good week of practice. It was great to get back out there and play Stanford football – get back to winning again."

 

On moving the ball effectively on the previously 17th-ranked defense of Arizona State

 

"It was just a good mix of run and pass. I think it was almost perfectly balanced in terms of yardage (close, 237 rush yards to 236 passing yards). When you can do that it keeps the defense off-balance. And at the same time we knew it was going to be tough running the ball tonight, but hats off to the offensive linemen, receivers, Jim Dray, Owen [Marecic], everybody. It was kind of a testament of wills. They are a good defense, but we like to play physical and run the ball. I think we just out-manned them tonight on the offensive side of the ball tonight, and defensively."

 

On the goal line fumble…

 

"That's the one time we are allowed to reach the ball out. It's fourth down; it's basically a ‘do or die' situation. I got hit behind the line of scrimmage and tried to spin. I knew I was going to come up short so I was just trying to reach it out there as far as I could. They hit it. Regardless, if I hold onto it we don't score so I just tried to give everything I could and tried to get it in there in that situation."

 

On Stanford's defense getting job done early and giving momentum to offense…

 

"We felt like we were rolling pretty good. We could get right back out there and pick up where we left off. When we sit out for awhile it kind of makes us get cold. Anytime they go ‘three and out' we get right back on the field and normally it's good field position at that point. They did a heck of a job. It gives us the ball and allows us to eat up the clock a little bit, take a little pressure off of them and get some points on the board. We love it when [the defense] goes three and out."

 

On the Cardinal special teams getting game off to a good start…

 

"It's momentum. Coach D.J. Durkin and the entire team take great pride in special teams. That first kick or kick return makes a statement. If we are kicking it off, we want it inside the 20. If we get the ball, to get a big return gets the momentum going right away. We feed off that as an offense and the defense feeds off that as well. Right from the first special teams play tonight, we stepped up and got the day started off right."

 

On this win carrying into the next four games…

 

"It's where we want to be. We want to get to that next level and be in the upper tier of the Pac-10. The next three games are the primary top teams. We want to go out each week and make a statement. Coach said that each week is going to be like an NFL playoff game – it's kind of ‘do or die'. We are going to take it one game at a time and give it our all. We have some good opponents and we're going to be ready for them.

 

On traditional fullback Owen Marecic lining up in an unusually varied number of ways...

 

"It created a little more space in the running game. We pack them in there and grind it out so they bring everybody in there. We figured if we spread him out a little bit it would be easier to create a couple of seams, and at the same time we might motion him back in. I think our offense was clicking on all cylinders tonight.

 

 

Quarterback Andrew Luck (#12)

 

On feeling comfortable throughout the game…

 

"I felt very comfortable tonight. The O-line did a great job and when they have to respect our running game so much it's easy to drop back, use the play-action or fakes. I felt like we got into a good rhythm offensively and I think that helped the passing game a lot. The receivers did a great job getting open and the O-linemen did a great job blocking. So I did feel very comfortable in that game."

 

On the possibility of the team momentum getting stalled by the upcoming bye week…

 

"I'm sure the bye week is best in the long term, but we are excited to play football again. We are doing pretty well, but I think this bye week will be pretty good for everybody's health."

 

On the new faces in the starting lineup on defense…

 

"I think it just shows how deep we are at those positions. They did a heck of a job stepping up, but I'm not on the field so I can't tell if they bring more passion or if they are just doing a good job."

 

On the explanation from the referees when calling back the apparent Coby Fleener touchdown…

 

"What I was told was that Ryan [Whalen] was covered up on the right side. They said ‘Whales' was an ineligible receiver when he was in the slot on the right side."

 

Gehart interjected: "I think [the refs] later apologized."

 

On this win carrying into the next four games…

 

"We've got our work cut out for us. A lot of great teams coming up ahead so we'll take this week and the next week to solely concentrate and prepare for Oregon. It's going to be a lot of fun and I think this is why we play college football – so we can go into stretches like this and play quality teams that we're going to play."

 

 

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

 

On this being the team's best offensive performance…

 

"Yes, but we knew it wouldn't be perfect. There were some times it was kind of mushed up in there, but they are that good, they are the fifth-rated defense for a reason. They were very physical, committed a lot of guys to the box and they are a strong team. I'm proud of our guys; I thought they met that challenge head-on. And just overall, offensively, defensively, special teams – I'm really proud of the way our team played. I thought they showed great resolve in going out and really taking care of business tonight."

 

On getting off to a good start…

 

"Credit a lot of people for that. First of all our players because they really did have the best week of practice they've have, maybe since we've been here – professionally went about their work all week. And credit to our coaches, all of them, and I take myself out of that group. They did an outstanding job this week keeping the team focused, and loose at the same time. They concentrated on what our team needed to do and that's real coaching. It's not about walking out there on gamedays, but really coaching the football team. So I was really proud of our coaches all week. You can't say enough about the players resolve. They didn't hang their heads; think about what they couldn't control. They set out to control what they could control and that was how to win a game this week."

 

On having new players in the starting lineup…

 

"It's guys developing. After you get to this part of the season, you don't consider them to be true freshmen anymore. They've been around here long enough to get in the ballgame and play well. I was proud of those guys. Jamal Patterson, the strong run that he made, that was great for him and our team. The run that Stepfan Taylor made, he slid through the narrowest of gaps and came out the other side and finished that touchdown run. I was really proud of the way our offensive line played up front. We felt like our team was close and we just have to keep pounding away at it and that's the way we'll go into this improvement week because we need to get better. And we are getting better, we're getting better as a football team and that makes you proud as a head coach. We need to get better because we have some heavyweights coming in here."

 

On minimizing team penalties…

 

"I thought it was a complete game in a lot of aspects. It's certainly not perfect, but I thought our team played a complete game. Things we talked about was going out and playing loose and focused at the same time – those things together. Also, just doing the things you have to do to win ballgames – blocking, tackling, protecting the football, playing smart. We're proud of all of those areas and the way the team played."

 

On the play of the new cornerbacks…

 

"I thought they were physical. Playing press coverage, making tackles on the perimeter. Johnson [Bademosi] had a couple of really nice hits. It was great to have Delano [Howell] back – that made a big difference. Matt Masifilo being back, I thought Tom Keiser had a heck of a game, Clinton Snyder making big plays, Will Powers…they were pretty much having to tackle him at the end of the game to keep him off the quarterback. There was good play inside, Ekom [Udofia] and Sione [Fua] no question about that. Shayne Skov showed up numerous times – the first two kickoffs he was extremely physical in that area. Defense tightened up tonight. Back to offense, defense and special teams, it was a good night for the Cardinal."

 

On running game having success against ASU front seven…

 

"We knew it wasn't going to be pretty every play. We knew it wasn't going to be that kind of ballgame. It was going to be two opposing wills coming at each other head on. But we were committed to it and they were committed to stopping it. I think the way Andrew [Luck] played, I thought he was spectacular. I think we are seeing something really special unfold with Andrew Luck. And the balance in the offense is something we really strive for. Some incredible catches too. Konrad Reuland an amazing catch by him, Ryan Whalen, Griff Whalen – good to see him run after the catch. Some guys really stepped up and got the opportunity and made a lot of it."

 

On increasing team confidence after beating a Sun Devils team that has dominated the Cardinal in recent years…

 

"It does. When we first started this back in 2007, we felt like they had our number. They pretty much dictated things. I'm so proud the way the team has improved and is improving. That's a good feeling, that was my thought coming off the field…this Cardinal team has come a long way."

 

On keeping momentum through the off-week and what is team looking to accomplish during bye…

 

"Improvement…and that is much needed considering the teams we are going to play. It's an "improvement week"; we don't call it a "bye week". We talked about that when we laid out the schedule four or five weeks ago – what we were going to do during the improvement week. So that's our goal, we want to improve."

 

On safety Delano Howell's huge hit…

 

"We gave him a game ball for that. That kind of stuff gets game balls. That was a big hit; it gives you a warm feeling. Delano has been missed on our defense. When he gets somebody lined up he's going to make the tackle. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but every time he has the opportunity to make a tackle the percentage is in the 90's that he will make it. And then make a big hit like that and change momentum, it's huge. Great to have him back."

 

On seeing more playing time of kickreturner/nickelback Michael Thomas

 

"The thing we've always known about Michael is how important it (football) is to him. He gets those little feet turning over, he's in somebody's hip pocket and he's just willing to throw his body around. It's just "important" to Michael Thomas.

 

And it was a tough week for Michael because his grandmother passed away this week. Our hearts and prayers go out to Michael and his family. We got that news on Thursday."


Do you have a "premium" subscription to The Bootleg? If not, then you are seriously missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest, baddest  and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)! At The Bootleg, "WE WRITE!"


The Bootleg Top Stories