Known more for his bruising style of running, Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney displayed his agility and breakaway speed in the Pac-12 championship game victory over Arizona State.
On the second play from scrimmage, Gaffney turned the corner, tip-toed the sideline and showed some burst in with a 69-yard touchdown run -- his longest of the season. He finished with 133 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries (6.0 yards per carry) to guide the Cardinal to their second consecutive Pac-12 championship and another trip to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.
Gaffney’s running, along with some fantastic blocking by the offensive line, also allowed the Cardinal to set up their play-action attack and keep the ASU defense guessing most of the game.
“There is no question: Tyler Gaffney has been the heartbeat of our offense all year,” said Stanford coach David Shaw “… You just watch him and play after play he gets stronger, he gets stronger, he gets stronger. He just drags guys. The guys start rallying around him. The receivers are out there blocking for him because they know any play could be a big play. So he's set the tone for us.”
Gaffney added a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half to give the Cardinal a 28-14 lead at halftime. From there, Stanford’s smothering defense pitched a second-half shutout en route to a 38-14 victory.
“It was the O-line,” Gaffney said. “They opened up the holes, and all they asked from me was speed and to run the ball. Then we opened up the passing game from there on out and that set the tone.”