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Cardinal Looks To Get Back On Track In Corvallis
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 10/08/2000

Oct. 8, 2000

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THE CARDINAL: Stanford returns to Pac-10 action on Saturday with a key conference game against Oregon State in Corvallis...The Cardinal, which has lost its last two games, saw its record drop to 2-3 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-10, after a 20-14 loss at Notre Dame last Saturday...Stanford's remaining schedule includes six conference games (three at home, three on the road)...Saturday's game at OSU will be televised live regionally on the Fox syndication package (KICU, channel 36 in the Bay Area) beginning at 3:30 pm...The Beavers enter the game with a 4-1 record overall and 1-1 in the Pac-10 under second year head coach Dennis Erickson...The last time the Cardinal faced an Oregon State team with four wins was in 1968 when the 4-2 Beavers beat Stanford 29-7 in Corvallis.

STANFORD-OSU SERIES NOTES: Stanford leads the all-time series with Oregon State 46-18-3, but the two teams have split the past four games...The Cardinal beat OSU in their last meeting in Corvallis (27-24 in 1997) and have won three of the last four played at Reser Stadium...Since 1969, Stanford is 25-5-1 vs. Oregon State, including a 13-4 record in Corvallis...Stanford's last loss in Corvallis came in 1996 when the Beavers beat the Cardinal 26-12...OSU recorded nine sacks on the day...Recently, the two teams have each won twice in the last four years...Stanford won in '97 at OSU 27-24 and last season at Stanford Stadium (21-17) while the Beavers beat the Cardinal 30-23 at Stanford in '98 and 26-12 in Corvallis '96

TOUGH OPPONENTS: Stanford's 2000 schedule has been ranked as one of the toughest in all of college football...Eight of Stanford's 11 opponents this season are ranked among the nation's top 29 teams in this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll...The Cardinal's next five opponents are all ranked and have a combined record of 19-6 - a winning percentage of .760...The Cardinal is 1-1 this season vs. ranked teams, having beaten Texas, then ranked No. 5 nationally, 27-24 on September 16 and losing last week to #25 Notre Dame 20-14 in South Bend...In the upcoming five weeks, Stanford will play at #20 Oregon State (4-1), at home vs. #29 USC (3-2) and #10 Washington (4-1), at #15 UCLA (4-1) and at home against #27 Arizona State (4-1).

OSU-STANFORD TIES: Here are the ties among the OSU and Cardinal coaching staffs: Stanford's Denny Schuler was the offensive coordinator and QB coach at Oregon State in 1996, Stanford's Dave Tipton coached the D-Line at OSU in 1988, Stanford RB coach Buzz Preston coached with OSU defensive coordinator Craig Bray at Washington State from 1994-97, Stanford's defensive coordinator Kent Baer coached with OSU RB coach Dan Cozzetto at Cal in '90-91 and at Arizona State in '92-94, Preston coached with OSU's linebacker coach Greg Newhouse at Hawaii in 1988-89.

CONFERENCE CATALOGUE: Stanford is 10-2 in its last 12 Pacific-10 Conference games...During this time, the Cardinal is 3-0 vs. Washington State, 2-0 vs. California, 1-0 vs. USC, UCLA, Oregon State and Arizona State, 1-1 vs. Arizona and 0-1 vs. Washington...Stanford won its final two conference games in '98, went 7-1 in '99 en route to the Pac-10 championship and is 1-1 thus far in '00.

ON THE ROAD: The Cardinal has won five of its last six Pac-10 road games, including its only road contest in 2000 - a 24-10 victory at Washington State in the season opener...A year ago, Stanford went 3-1 in Pac-10 road games as it posted wins at Arizona, USC and Arizona State...The Cardinal closed out the '98 campaign with a victory at Cal...Stanford's only conference road defeat during this time was a 35-30 loss at Washington last season.

HEAD COACH TYRONE WILLINGHAM: Now in his sixth season at the helm of the Cardinal football program, Tyrone Willingham has the longest tenure on The Farm since John Ralson's nine-year run from 1963-71...Willingham has compiled an overall record of 32-30-1...His resume during his first five years at Stanford includes three bowl games, two Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors (1995, '99), a Pac-10 championship and a Rose Bowl appearance...Willingham previously held assistant coaching positions at Central Michigan ('78-79), Michigan State (1980-82), North Carolina State (1983-85), Rice (1986-88), Stanford (1989-91) and the Minnesota Vikings (1992-94)...He first came to Stanford as the running backs coach under Dennis Green in 1989, then returned to The Farm as as head coach to replace Bill Walsh on Nov. 28, 1994.

REVIEWING NOTRE DAME: Stanford limited the Fighting Irish to just 266 yards of total offense (100 through the air) and only 16 first downs, but Notre Dame capitalized on Cardinal miscues and defeated Stanford 20-14...Stanford cut the lead to 13-7 with 12:15 to play in the third quarter on a Chris Lewis to DeRonnie Pitts TD pass from 13 yards out...Brian Allen's 71 yard run set up the two play, 84-yard drive...The Irish extended their lead to 20-7 after an interception gave them the ball at the Cardinal 34 yard line...Three plays later, Notre Dame scored on a seven yard run by Julius Jones...In the game, Stanford gave up a blocked punt at their own 10-yard line - which led to an Irish TD - fumbled the ball at the Notre Dame 15 and was intercepted at their own 34 -leading to an Irish touchdown.

DEFENSIVE DATA: Consider the fact that Stanford has given up 121 points this season, but 21points have been scored when the defense was not on the field (interception return, fumble return, blocked punt) and 10 points were scored on drives that began at or inside the 10-yard line...Given this, Stanford's defense has yielded 90 points in five games, an average of 18 points per game...The Cardinal gave up 31.5 points per game a year ago.

SHORT DRIVES: Stanford's opponents have begun 16 drives in Cardinal territory this season ...Opponents have found that sustaining a long drive against the Cardinal defense has been difficult in '00...In fact, of the 19 scoring drives against Stanford this season, 10 have been 40 yards or less ...The average length of opponents' 19 scoring drives is 4.3 plays and 42.6 yards per drive...Aside from the San Jose State game, Stanford's defense has given up just one long drive - that coming at Notre Dame last week (11 plays, 91 yards).

AFTER A LOSS: Stanford's string of six straight wins after losses ended last Saturday at Notre Dame...Still, the Cardinal has won six of its last seven games after losses, including one in 1998, three in '99 and two in 2000...The Cardinal beat Washington State in 1998 after losing to USC the week before...In '99, Stanford's losses to Texas, San Jose State and Washington were followed by wins over Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State...Stanford lost its '99 season finale to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, then opened the 2000 campaign with a win at Washington State...Stanford's 40-27 loss to San Jose State earlier this year was followed by a 27-24 win over Texas, which entered the game ranked fifth in the nation.

YearLossNext Game Win
1998USC34-9Wash. St.38-28
1999@Texas69-17Wash. St.54-17
1999SJSU44-39Oregon St.21-17
1999@Wash35-30@Ariz. St.50-30
99/00Wisc. (1/1/00)17-9@Wash. St.24-10
2000San Jose State40-27Texas27-24
2000Arizona3-27@Notre DameLost 20-14
2000Notre Dame14-20@Oregon State, October 14

IMPROVING DEFENSE: Under the direction of defensive coordinator Kent Baer and his staff, Stanford's defense has shown marked improvement from a year ago...The Cardinal limited Notre Dame to just 100 yards passing last Saturday, the lowest total by an opponent since Oregon State threw for 48 yards in 1996 - a span of 45 games...Stanford is allowing 197.6 yards per game through the air, down from 304.9 a year ago...The Cardinal defense is allowing 346.8 yards per game and 24.2 points per game in 2000, an improvement from '99 totals of 452.8 yards and 31.5 points...Against the Irish, Stanford allowed just 266 yards in total offense, 91 of which came on Notre Dame's opening drive...After that opening drive, Notre Dame gained 175 yards and managed just 11 first downs against the Cardinal defense...The Irish also completed only six passes for 60 yards after that opening drive, which went 91 yards on 11 plays.

TOUCHDOWNS: Eleven of Stanford's 12 offensive touchdowns have come via the pass...WR DeRonnie Pitts, who is among Stanford's all-time leaders in receiving TDs (third all-time with 21) has five thus far in '00...Jamien McCullum has two TDs while Luke Powell, Casey Moore, Darin Naatjes and Kery Carter each have one...Stanford has scored one TD on the ground (Casey Moore, six yards vs. Washington State) and one on special teams, that coming on an Emory Brock blocked punt and 22-yard return vs. Texas...Stanford has at least one TD pass in four of its five games this season and 15 of its last 17 games in 1999 and 2000.

PENALTY BOX: Stanford once again leads the Pac-10 in fewest penalties...The Cardinal is tops in the league in fewest penalties (23), penalty yards (132) and penalty yards per game (26.4)...Stanford has led the Pac-10 in fewest penalties and penalty yards per game in each of the last four seasons...A year ago, the Cardinal averaged 42.9 penalty yards per game (58 penalties, 472 penalty yards)...Stanford,which was second in the league in 1995, also led the league in 1996 (59 penalties, 539 yards), '97 (66-596) and '98 (73-544).

HOWARD NAMED ONE OF 12 LOMBARDI AWARD SEMIFINALISTS: Last week, fifth-year senior DT Willie Howard was named as one of 12 semifinalists for the 2000 Rotary Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman ... Howard, who was a 2000 Preseason First Team All-American by Athlon and Second Team Preseason All-American by Street & Smith's, won the 1999 Morris Award, emblematic of the top lineman in the Pacific-10 Conference ... Thus far this season, Howard, who has made 39 consecutive starts dating back to 1997, has 20 tackles (13 unassisted), five tackles for loss (-26 yards) and three quarterback sacks (-24 yards) ... Last week against Notre Dame, Howard had five tackles (three unassisted), one sack and tackle-for-loss and blocked a Notre Dame PAT in the second quarter ... He has now recorded a tackle for loss in four of the five games this year, and 15 of his last 18 dating back to '98 ... All totaled, he has 36 career tackles-for-loss (-157 yards) and 20.5 career sacks (-124 yards) ... Last season, Howard emerged as the leader - both on and off the field - of Stanford's defensive line unit known as the "Trench Dogs" ... Howard finished third in the Pac-10 in both quarterback sacks (10, -60 yards) and tackles-for-loss (19, -79 yards) in '99 ... He recorded five tackles, including one for a loss, in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin despite playing with ACL damage and an MCL sprain to his right knee that was suffered in the regular season finale against Notre Dame just five weeks earlier.

PITTS HITS 100 YARDS - AGAIN: Fifth-year senior WR DeRonnie Pitts has established himself as one of the top pass catchers in Stanford football history ... After catching 132 passes as the Cardinal's No. 2 wideout the last two seasons behind 1999 Biletnikoff Award winner Troy Walters, Pitts hasn't missed a beat as the Cardinal's top pass catcher this season ... Thus far this year, Pitts has accounted for 40 percent of the Cardinal's receptions - 33 of 83 - for team-highs of 399 yards and five touchdowns ... On Saturday at Notre Dame, Pitts caught eight passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, marking the second time this season and ninth in his career he went for 100 yards or more in a single game ... Earlier this season, he had a career-high 11 receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns against San Jose State on Sept. 9, and had two more touchdowns against Texas, including a dramatic game-winning 15-yard reception with 1:12 left in the contest ... Pitts leads the Pac-10 and is 11th in the nation with 6.60 receptions per game and is third in the conference and 30th in the country in receiving yards per game (79.80) ... He is also third in the Pac-10 in total receiving yards (399), fifth in all-purpose rushing (104.20 pg) and tied for fifth in scoring (6.00 pg) Pitts, who will likely be second or third in every all-time school receiving category by the end of the season, had his breakout year in '98 with 74 receptions (tied for the third highest single season total in school history) for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns ... Pitts' accomplishments have been well noticed, as he ranked among the best receivers in the nation in the preseason by The Sporting News and Lindy's, and is on the "watch list" for the Biletnikoff Award.

PITTS MOVES INTO THIRD ON SCHOOL RECEIVING YARDAGE, RECEIVING TD LISTS: Fifth-year senior WR DeRonnie Pitts moved up two spots - from fifth to third place - on Stanford's all-time receiving yardage list on Saturday in South Bend ... Pitts' 100 receiving yards against the Fighting Irish gave him 2,459 for his career, and moved him past Darrin Nelson (2,368, 1977-81) and Ken Margerum (2,430, 1977-80) and into third place ... He needs just 23 more yards to tie Justin Armour (2,482, 1991-94) for second place ... On Stanford's all-time touchdown receptions list, Pitts moved out of a tie with Armour for third place when he caught his 21st career TD pass in the third quarter ... He needs five more touchdown receptions to tie former teammate Troy Walters (26, 1996-99) for second place.

RIALL ROLLS ON: For the second straight season, fifth-year senior OLB Riall Johnson is among the conference leaders in both sacks and tackles-for-loss ... Through the first five weeks of 2000, Johnson leads the Pac-10 with six quarterback sacks (-34 yards) and ranks sixth in the conference with eight tackles-for-loss (-50 yards) ... Johnson's best game of the 2000 campaign came in the Cardinal's home upset over then-No. 5 Texas, as he recorded three sacks (-19 yards) and four tackles-for-loss (-26 yards) to earn Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week week honors ... It also marked the sixth time in Johnson's career that he has recorded two or more sacks in a game ... Last week against Notre Dame, Johnson had four tackles, including one quarterback sack ... On the year, Johnson has 18 tackles - of which eight are for a loss (-50 yards) and six are quarterback sacks (-34 yards) ... For his career, Johnson has 27 career sacks (-195 yards) and 40 tackles-for-loss (-240 yards) ... Johnson also had a banner year in '99 - tying for the 1999 Pac-10 lead in sacks with 13 (-108 yards) en route to second team all-conference honors ... In the preseason, The Sporting News tabbed Johnson No. 7 on its list of the nation's top outside linebackers while Lindy's had him at No. 14...Johnson's younger brother, Teyo, who was one of the nation's prized recruits in both basketball and football, is currently the Cardinal's second-string quarterback.

WIRE MAKING MOST OF NEW ROLE: Senior Coy Wire was one of the Cardinal's top running backs in '98 and '99 before being moved to the defensive side of the ball this spring ... The change has paid off for the inside linebacker, who is second on the team and fifth in the Pac-10 in quarterbacks sacks with four (-21 yards) ... He also ranks second on the team in both tackles with 34 and tackles-for-loss with six (-24 yards) ... Against Notre Dame, Wire recorded seven tackles (two unassisted) and one tackle-for-loss (-2 yards) ... He also had a huge game against Texas, making a team-high seven tackles (six unassisted), two quarterback sacks and tackles-for-loss and one pass break-up ... Wire was originally moved to safety in the spring, but has since moved to inside linebacker ... Prior to this season, the Pennsylvania native was one of the Cardinal's primary ground threats ... He led the team in rushing yards (298) in '98 despite missing the final five games beacuse of injury, and rushed for 317 yards and four TDs a year ago.

FERNANDEZ STRIKES AGAIN: Junior CB Ryan Fernandez, who came to Stanford as a wide receiver out of Oakland's Skyline High School, recorded his third interception of the season two weeks against Arizona to move into the nation's elite in that category ... Fernandez' 0.60 interceptions per game ranks tied for 13th in the nation and tied for second in the Pac-10 ... He grabbed his first two interceptions of the season in the upset win over Texas on Sept. 16 ... Fernandez also leads the team in passes defensed with six, and is third on the squad in tackles with 27 (22 unassisted). ... Fernandez was one of just five true Stanford freshman to earn a letter in '98, and at wide receiver, caught two passes for 40 yards ... He was moved to the secondary prior to last season, and recorded 12 tackles, four pass break-ups and one fumble recovery in a reserve role in '99.

LEWIS RUNS THE SHOW: Redshirt freshman QB Chris Lewis, who is subbing for the injured Randy Fasani, made his first collegiate start on Saturday vs. Arizona ... Lewis, who was the first redshirt freshman to start at QB for Stanford since St. Louis Cardinals farmhand Chad Hutchinson did it in '96, went 14-of-32 for 177 yards and two interceptions ... Two weeks ago against #5 Texas, Lewis entered the game in the first quarter in place of the injured Fasani and led the Cardinal to the 27-24 upset by going 12-of-33 for 214 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions ... The last of those three touchdown passes was a game-winning 15-yard strike to DeRonnie Pitts with 1:12 remaining that capped a dramatic four-play, 59-yard drive ... On the season, Lewis has thrown for 397 yards on 27-of-68 with three touchdowns and two interceptions ... Lewis, who starred at Long Beach Poly High School, came to The Farm after being named the 1998 Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year and a Parade Magazine First Team Prep All-American ... As a senior, Lewis completed 59.4 (174-of-293) percent of his passes for 3,170 yards and 43 touchdowns ... He finished his prep career with a California state record 107 TD passes to go along with 8,616 yards through the air.

FASANI UNDERGOES KNEE SURGERY: Senior quarterback Randy Fasani (two years of eligibility remaining) underwent arthroscopic surgery on on Sept. 29 at Stanford Hospital to repair a strained ligament and torn cartilage in his left knee ... Fasani, who suffered the injury on Sept. 16 against Texas, is expected to return this season ... Fasani, who started the first three games of the season, ranks among the national leaders in virtually every passing category ... He is an impressive 37-of-71 (52.1 percent) for 664 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception to go along with a 155.7 pass efficiency rating ... Those numbers rank Fasani first in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation in pass efficiency, 29th in the nation and third in the Pac-10 in total offense (232.33 ypg) and tied for 29th in the nation and third in the Pac-10 in points responsible for (12.00 pg) ... Against San Jose State, Fasani threw for 373 yards - the 20th highest single game total in school history - and went 18-of-42 with four touchdowns and one interception ...Prior to this season, Fasani appeared in 13 games off the bench in '98 and '99, and went 9-of-22 for 94 yards with one touchdown and one interception in addition to also seeing time at tight end, on special teams and at linebacker.

KERRY CARTER LEADS RUSHING ATTACK: Sophomore RB Kerry Carter, who burst onto the scene last fall with impressive early season performances against Texas (9-69, TD) and Arizona (3 TDs), has been the Cardinal's main threat out of the backfield in 2000 ... Carter rushed for 69 yards on nine carries and a touchdown in the season opener against Texas, and two weeks later, rushed for three scores in the upset win at Arizona ... He is off to another fast start this season, rushing for a team-high 251 yards on 62 carries (4.0 ypc) through the first four weeks ... His best performance this season was a 17-carry, 90-yard effort against San Jose State ... He also has one reception this season - an 84-yard TD against Washington State that is tied for the fifth longest pass play in school history ... He currently ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in all-purpose rushing (99.33 pg) and eighth in rushing (62.75 pg) ... As a true freshman last season, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Carter finished with 87 carries for 330 yards (3.8 ypc) and a team-high six rushing TDs ... Carter came to Stanford as a prized recruit out of Vaughn, Ontario, Canada despite playing only one game in his senior year because a teacher's strike forced the cancellation of most of the season.



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