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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Top performances 2011: Chase Thomas

By Kevin Gemmell

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

Up next: Thomas, unleashed.

Who & against whom: Stanford outside linebacker Chase Thomas set up his own Occupy Notre Dame's Backfield rally in a 28-14 win over the Irish in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The numbers: Thomas wreaked havoc on the Irish quarterbacks and running backs, tallying three tackles for a loss, two sacks, and a pair of quarterback hits to go with a forced fumble and five total tackles.

A closer look: It was a night to celebrate quarterback Andrew Luck, who set the Stanford career touchdown passing record. But it was Thomas who excelled on the defensive side of the ball. Thomas got to work early, sacking Tommy Rees and forcing a fumble on Notre Dame's second possession, just outside the Stanford red zone. On Notre Dame's next offensive play following a Stanford punt, he recorded his first tackle for a loss. He added his second sack of the game — this time for minus-6 yards on Andrew Hendrix — five plays into the second half. Thomas is projected as the top senior outside linebacker in the country next year.