Monday, September 12, 2011
Stanford: Weekend rewind
By Kevin Gemmell
Stanford's nonconference schedule is on hiatus for a couple of months until Notre Dame strolls into town on Nov. 26 for the regular season finale. It's off to Arizona this week for the Pac-12 opener. But first, a look at the highs and lows of Stanford's 44-14 win over Duke.
Highlight reel: Andrew Luck's 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Owusu was a text book wide receiver screen. Quick release by Luck, nice first step from Owusu, and some great blocking from Zach Ertz and Jonathan Martin. That's exactly how it's drawn up on the chalkboard and the Cardinal executed it to perfection. It was also a big momentum-changer before the half. Here's the play if you missed it.
Best play: A lot of different directions to go with this one. Luck's 60-yard touchdown pass to Coby Fleener? Good play, but was it the best? Jeremy Stewart's 30-yard touchdown run? Also a strong contender with it's good ol' fashioned I-back power running. But I'm going to give the fullback a little love. Geoff Meinken's 40-yard run -- specifically the stiff-arm -- was equal parts fun and filthy. That's a play that coaches will rewind over and over during the team film sessions.
Worst (or luckiest) play: Unfortunately for Luck, we have the video of this one available as well. Running to his left, the ball slipped out of Luck's hands. But fortunately for the quarterback it took a lucky bounce (insert witty pun here) and he was able to recover and run out of bounds for, technically, a sack.
Who's hot? Again, plenty to choose from. Can't argue with Luck and his four touchdown passes. But I love good run defense, and Stanford's was splendid against Duke. So we'll go with linebacker Shayne Skov, who led the Cardinal with 11 tackles and had 2.5 tackles for a loss.
Who's not? Duke's offensive line. It allowed six quarterback sacks to the aforementioned front seven from Stanford.
The good: Battling three time zones and unfamiliar weather elements, the Cardinal won, and won big. The first half was shaky, but the second half was the powerful, efficient offense that David Shaw has been wanting to see.
The bad: For the second week in a row, it's the pass defense. That wound I cautioned about last week -- the one that might get infected if gone untreated -- is starting to get a little gamey. It seemed like the one facet of this team that actually looked worse in Week 2 than in Week 1.