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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Top performances 2011: Stanford's backs

By Kevin Gemmell

We're looking at the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2011.

Up next: Stanford's running back corps.

Who & against whom? Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney, Anthony Wilkerson and Jeremy Stewart (among others) at home against Washington on Oct. 22.

The numbers: Taylor rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown, Gaffney rushed for 117 yards and a score, Wilkerson added 93 and two touchdowns and Stewart tacked on 20 and a score as Stanford rushed for a school record 446 yards against the Huskies. Worth noting that Andrew Luck, contributed 23, wide receiver Chris Owusu had a 45 yard end-around and fullback Geoff Meinken added a 10-yard run.

A closer look: First, no rushing record is complete without a tip of the cap to the big boys up front, who punctured holes that allowed Stanford five touchdowns on the ground and a ridiculous 10.1 yards per carry average. And negative rushing yards? Zero. That said, some of the praise also goes to Luck, who called a good chunk of the plays at the line of scrimmage and -- as David Shaw tells the story -- told his coach it was the finest game of his career. Washington's Chris Polk set the standard with 144 yards (including touchdown runs of 46 and 61 yards). But the Cardinal answered with a 70-yard touchdown run by Taylor (the longest of the season) and then a 38-yard touchdown by Wilkerson that set the school record. Oh yeah, Stanford also won 65-21. A historical night on The Farm.