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Football Hopes To Improve 2-1 Record Against Arizona Sept. 30
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 09/18/2000

Sept. 18, 2000

THE CARDINAL

Stanford is now 2-1 overall (1-0 in the Pac-10) after a 27-24 upset win over fifth-ranked Texas last Saturday (Sept. 16) The Cardinal has an open date on September 23, then returns to action on September 30 to host Arizona to conclude its three-game homestand Stanford sits atop the Pac-10 standings with a 1-0 record (a 24-10 season-opening victory at Washington State) while the Wildcats will play their first conference game of the year when they face the Cardinal Arizona, meanwhile, also has an open date on September 30.

OPEN DATE

The Cardinal has its only bye of the season this Saturday (September 23) before returning for a string of eight consecutive games beginning September 30 against Arizona Stanford will practice Tuesday-Thursday (Sept. 19-21), then take Friday and Saturday off before returning to a normal game-week schedule on Sunday (Sept. 24) The Cardinal's practice schedule this week includes: Sept. 19, 3:45-5:25 pm, Sept. 20, 3:45-5:30 pm, Sept. 21, 3:45-5:20 pm.

LATELY

Stanford is 12-5 in its last 17 games and 10-1 in its last 11 Pac-10 games The Cardinal, which went 8-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference last season, finished the ?98 campaign with two Pac-10 wins (Washington State, Cal) and have opened the 2000 season with a conference win Washington is the only Pac-10 team to beat the Cardinal (35-30 last season in Seattle) in its last 11 games

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 32-28-1 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 TEXAS

Stanford's 27-24 win over fifth-Texas was the Cardinal's first win over a top-10 team since a 41-37 victory over seventh-ranked Colorado in 1993 It was also Stanford's first win over a top-10 team in Tyrone Willingham's tenure as the Cardinal's head coach (1995-00) Stanford built a 20-9 lead in the fourth quarter, but saw the lead disappear when the Longhorn's scored 15 consecutive points to take a 24-20 lead with 5:44 to play Backup quarterback Chris Lewis, who replaced injured starter Randy Fasani in the first quarter, hit DeRonnie Pitts for a 15-yard TD play with 1:12 remaining to put Stanford on top to stay Lewis, in only the second game of his collegiate career, threw for 214 yards and three TDs Stanford's defense deserves much of the credit for the win, limiting the powerful Longhorn offense to just 13 rushing yards while accounting for five sacks, 10 tackles-for-loss, 11 pass deflections and two interceptions.

AFTER A LOSS VStanford has won its last six 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 fifth-ranked Texas.

YearLossNext Game Win
1998USC34-9 Wash. St.38-28
1999@Texas69-17Wash. St.54-17
1999SJSU 44-39Oregon St.21-17
1999@Wash 35-30@Ariz. St.50-30
99/00Wisc. (1/1/00) 17-9@Wash. St.24-10
2000San Jose State 40-27Texas27-24

THE LONG BALL

Stanford is averaging 17.7 yards per reception (50 receptions, 884 yards) in 2000 Those numbers include three plays of over 60 yards, two of which are among the longest in school history, and 14 pass plays of 20 yards or more Five players are averaging over 20 yards per catch Leading the long ball brigade is sophomore Luke Powell, who has a team-high four catches over 20 yards (37 vs. Texas, 67 and 21 vs. SJS, 33 vs. WSU) TE Russell Stewart, playing in his first game of the season vs. Texas, had three receptions for a career-high 82 yards All three catches went for more than 20 yards (20, 37, 25) In the season opener at WSU, QB Randy Fasani and RB Kerry Carter hooked up on an 84-yard touchdown pass play, tying it for the fifth longest in school history Against. San Jose State, Fasani had two plays of over 40 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown to Jamien McCullum The play goes into the record book tied for the 15th longest touchdown pass in school history Fasani has also hooked up with Powell for 67 yards.

OFFENSIVELY

Stanford is once again putting up offensive numbers which rank among the best in college football Last season, the Cardinal offense set school records for points scored, touchdowns scored and yards gained It ranked first in the Pac-10 in scoring offense and passing offense and second in total offense while ranking among the nation's top-10 in each category After losing four First-Team All-Pac-10 players on offense, including quarterback Todd Husak and Biletnikoff Award winner Troy Walters, Stanford's 2000 offense is continuing the trend as one of the most difficult to defend in college football Currently, the Cardinal offense leads the Pac-10 in passing offense (294.7 ypg) and is second in total offense (434.33) Nationally, Stanford ranks 11th in passing offense and 22nd in total offense The Cardinal also leads the Pac-10 and is 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency

FIRST HALF OFFENSE

Stanford has been a first half offense through its first three games in 2000 The Cardinal has scored 58 of its 78 points (74%), gained 852 of its 1,303 total yards (65%) and thrown for 593 of its 884 yards (67%) through the air in the first half of its first three games vs. Washington State, San Jose State and Texas Against the Cougars, the Cardinal scored all 24 of its points, threw for 220 yards and gained 302 yards in the first half Against San Jose State, Stanford scored 21 of its 27 points and gained 366 yards in the first half.

IMPROVING DEFENSE

Under the direction of defensive coordinator Kent Baer and his staff, Stanford's defense has shown marked improvement from a year ago Stanford has improved in all four defensive categories from 1999 and has gone from averaging 452.8 yards per game in total defense and 31.5 points per game to 359.3 and 24.7, respectively, in ?00 The Cardinal defense has limited two of this three opponents to under 100 yards rushing (91 vs. Washington State, 13 vs. Texas) If you add last year's season finale - the Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin - then the Cardinal has given up an average of 352.3 yards in total offense and 22.8 points in its last four games.

AGAINST THE RUN

Led the the Trench Dogs, Stanford's run defense has continued to get stingier over the past three seasons The defensive line, aka the Trench Dogs, is led by senior DT Willie Howard, the 1999 Morris Award winner as the top defensive lineman in the Pac-10 Stanford, which limited Texas to just 13 yards rushing, has improved from allowing 180.6 yards rushing per game in 1998, to 147.9 in ?99 to 129.3 through three games in 2000 The Cardinal limited Washington State to just 91 yards on the ground in the season opener and held Texas to just 13 yards on the ground last week Including the final four games of the 1999 season, Stanford has held its opponent under 100 yards rushing four times in the last seven games (ASU and Cal in ?99, WSU and Texas in ?00) The Cardinal has also recorded 27 tackles for loss (-103 yards) and 10 sacks (-57 yards) in three games this year Riall Johnson leads the way with six tackles behind the line, Coy Wire has five and Howard has four Johnson also leads the team with five sacks,followed by Wire with four and Howard with two.

TOUCHDOWNS

Nine of Stanford's 10 offensive touchdowns have come via the pass WR DeRonnie Pitts, who is among Stanford's all-time leaders in receiving TDs (tied for third all-time with 20) has four thus far in ?00 Jamien McCullum has two TDs while Luke Powell, Casey Moore and Kery Carter each have one Stanford has scored one touchdown 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.

AGAINST THE BEST

According to this week's NCAA rankings of the toughest schedules in college football, Stanford is ranked second to Notre Dame with an opponent's cumulative winning percentage of .777 The Irish have the toughest schedule in the nation with a cumulative percentage of .782 The rankings combine a team's past opponent's record and future opponent's record In this formula, Notre Dame's opponents are 18-5 while the Cardinal's are 21-6 Following Stanford is UCLA in third, then Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, Miami, Arizona, Baylor and California round out the top ten Stanford still must play four of the nation's top 16 teams, including at #16 Notre Dame (2-1) on Oct. 7, at #6 UCLA (3-0) on Nov. 4, and home games with #7 Washington (3-0) on Oct. 28 and #9 USC (2-0) on Oct. 21.

HOWARD LIVES UP TO PRESEASON BILLING

Fifth-year senior DT Willie Howard entered the 2000 season as one of the most highly touted defensive linemen in the nation ... Howard was tabbed as a First-Team Preseason All-American by Athlon and Second Team Preseason All-American by Street & Smith's, who also ranked him as the fourth best defensive lineman in the country ... Howard was on The Sporting News' and Street & Smith's lists of Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidates ... He proved the prognosticators right against Texas with a team-high seven tackles (four unassisted), two tackles for loss and a crucial eight-yard quarterback sack of Major Applewhite on 2nd-and-13 with 45 seconds remainng in the game ... He also played a major role in holding Texas to just 13 net yards rushing on 28 carries ... Thus far this season, Howard, who has made 37 consecutive starts dating back to 1997, has 14 tackles (nine unassisted), four tackles for loss (-16 yards) and two quarterback sacks (-14 yards) ... He has recorded a tackle for loss in all three games this season, and has had at least one in 14 of his last 16 games dating back to the end of the ?98 season ... He now has 35 career tackles-for-loss (-147 yards) and 19.5 career sacks (-114 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 ... Howard 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 LEAPS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

Fifth-year senior WR DeRonnie Pitts is establishing 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 ... His 15-yard reception, and subsequent dramatic leap into the end zone with 1:12 remaining proved to be the game-winning score in the Cardinal's upset of No. 5 Texas ... Pitts ranks tied for sixth in the nation and tied for first in the conference in receptions per game with 6.67 and has accounted for 40 percent of the Cardinal's receptions through week three - 20 of a possible 50 - for 247 yards and four touchdowns ... The 247 yards leads the Pac-10, as does the four receiving touchdowns ... Pitts is also 33rd in the country and third in the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game with 82.33 ... He had three catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, a week after catching a career-best 11 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns against San Jose State ... Pitts ranks tied for third in Stanford history in career touchdown receptions (20), fourth in career receptions (165) and sixth in career receiving yards (2,307) ... By the time the 2000 season is complete, Pitts will likely be second or third in every all-time school receiving category ... His breakout season was ?98 when he caught 74 passes, which is 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 was ranked as the 18th best wide receiver in the nation by The Sporting News and 24th by Lindy's, and is on the ?watch list? for the Biletnikoff Award.

PITS CONTINUES TO MOVE UP SCHOOL RECEIVING CHARTS

Fifth-year senior WR DeRonnie Pitts continued his climb up Stanford's all-time receiving charts in the upset win over Texas ... Pitts moved from ninth to sixth on the career receiving yardage list (2,307), tied for fifth to tied for third in career touchdown receptions (20) and tied for fourth to fourth in career receptions (165) ... Pitts, who was not among the school's top 10 in career receiving yards at the outset of the season, has already moved to sixth place and is just 175 yards shy of moving all the way up to second ... He entered the Texas game in ninth place on the receiving yardage chart, and passed Jeff James (2,265, 1984-87), Emile Harry (2,270, 1981-84) and Brian Manning (2,280, 1993-96) before the night was through ... Pitts' two touchdown receptions, including the game winner with 1:12 remaining, moves him into a tie for third with Justin Armour (1991-94) and makes him just the fourth player in Stanford history to catch 20 career touchdown passes (Ken Margerum, Troy Walters, Armour, Pitts) ... The Saginaw, Michigan native's three receptions also moved him into sole possesion of fourth place past Vincent White (165, 1979-82).

FASANI SUFFERS INJURY

Senior quarterback Randy Fasani (two years of eligibility remaining) is in his first season as the Cardinal's starting signal-caller ... Fasani left the Texas game in the first quarter with an injury, and his status is still undetermined ... In his three starts in 2000, Fasani 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 10th in the nation and first in the conference in pass efficiency, 32nd in the nation and third in the Pac-10 in total offense (232.33 yards pg) and tied for 28th in the nation and tied for second 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.

LEWIS LEADS CARDINAL TO WIN

Redshirt freshman QB Chris Lewis replaced the injured Randy Fasani midway through the first quarter of the Texas game, and led the Cardinal to the upset win ... Lewis went 12-of-33 for 214 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions ... He led Stanford on a four-play, 59-yard drive in the final moments, capped by a 15-yard touchdown strike to DeRonnie Pitts with 1:12 remaining that gave Stanford the 27-24 win ... Prior to the Texas contest, Lewis appeared in one game (at Washington State) and went 1-of-3 for 6 yards ... 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 174-of-293 (59.4 percent) of his passes for 3,170 yards and 43 touchdowns ... He finished his career with a California state career record 107 TD passes to go along with 8,616 yards passing.

RIALL SACKS THE LONGHORNS

Fifth-year senior OLB Riall Johnson showed why he is one of the top pass rushers in the nation by recording three quarterback sacks in the upset victory over Texas ... Four of Johnson's five tackles were for a loss (-26 yards) in the victory, including the three quarterback sacks of Major Applewhite - two of them in the fourth quarter - for a total of -19 yards ... It also marked the sixth time in Johnson's career that he has recorded two or more sacks in a game ... On the season, Johnson, who started the first two games at defensive end in the Cardinal's nickel package and moved back to OLB against Texas, has recorded 11 tackles (eight unassisted), six tackles-for-loss (-32 yards), a team-high five quarterback sacks (-25 yards) and two pass break-ups ... The big night against Texas gives Johnson 25 career sacks (-191 yards) and 38 tackles-for-loss (-228 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 ... He also ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in tackles for loss with 17 (-119 yards), to go along with 42 tackles (28 unassisted), two pass break-ups, one forced fumble and one safety ... In the preseason, The Sporting News tabbed Johnson No. 7 on their 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, is the Cardinal's third-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/safety, who is second on the team in tackles-for-loss (five), quarterback sacks (four) and tackles (19) ... Wire 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 seen extensive time at inside linebacker in his three starts ... 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 scores a year ago.

KERRY CARTER OFF TO FAST START-AGAIN

Sophomore RB Kerry Carter burst onto the scene last fall with impressive performances against Texas and Arizona in the opening three weeks of the season ... 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, including a 17-carry, 71-yard effort against Texas ... Overall, he has rushed 53 times for a team-high 214 net yards (4.0 ypc), and also caught one pass for an 84-yard touchdown at Washington State ... He currently ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in rushing yards per game (71.33) and 10th in the conference in all-purpose running (99.33 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 touchdowns ... He also scored Stanford's only Rose Bowl touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter ... Carter came to Stanford as a prized recruit out of Vaughn, Ontario, Canada despite playing only one game in his senior season because a teacher's strike forced the cancellation of most of the season.

BISELLI AIMS FOR LOU GROZA AWARD

Stanford senior placekicker Mike Biselli (two years of eligibility remaining), who was a First Team All-Pac-10 selection a year ago, is listed among the preseason candidates for the Lou Groza award, given annually to the nation's top placekicker Biselli is an impressive 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) on career field goal attempts, and a perfect 12-of-12 from inside the 40 ... He is also 58-of-68 on PAT attempts, which ranks him 10th on Stanford's all-time list in that category.


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