Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Cardinal Rule (over USC)

On a day in which, mostly anyway, the teams that were supposed to win won, the Stanford Cardinal pulled off the biggest upset, over #2 ranked USC. The game was by no means a fun game to watch. Neither offense was very productive and it was a defensive slugfest throughout. Stanford QB Josh Nunes struggled mightily at times, bu the defense kept the Cardinal in the game and gave Nunes a chance to deliver when it mattered. And the result was absolutely spectacular.

The star of the game was undoubtedly Stepfan Taylor. His magnificent 1st half touchdown run in which he juked several would-be tacklers and took it to the house was a thing of beauty. His nimbleness and vision were on display for the entire game. And when Nunes struggled to make throws, Taylor was the one who kept the offense chugging along.

The defense played great as well. In fact, they were the star of the show until Nunes's heroics toward the end of the game. DE Ben Gardner was a terror in the pass rush, sacking Trojan quarterback and Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley on several occasions. DB Terrence Brown kept his composure despite several pass interference calls that went against him and kept the USC receivers, including starts Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, in check for much of the game. Overall, the linebackers wreaked havoc in the pass rush and in short yardage coverage, which helped the Cardinal force Barkley to throw the long ball on many occasions. Although the defense inexplicably gave up a first down conversion on a 4th and 19 that might have crushed the Cardinal's chance of winning, they held tight for the rest of the game to keep alive the upset-in-the-making.

The Cardinal definitely made a statement with this win tonight. Although no one expects them to be in the BCS-bowl conversation at the end of the season, they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12. They still have to face Oregon, Oregon St, and Cal, but if they can escape going 2 for 3 in those key games, they have a shot at winning the Pac-12 North and possibly the conference.

I was greatly impressed with the play of this team, despite the departure of Andrew Luck, Johnathan Martin, David DeCastro, and several other key players. The first game against San Jose State was disappointing, the game against Duke was expected, but the victory over USC was absolutely unbelievable. Props to the entire Stanford Cardinal football team for a well-deserved win.

Go Cardinal!

And looking forward to that Niners-Lions showdown tomorrow...

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