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Pressure Builds On Cardinal
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 10/29/2000

Oct. 29, 2000

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    THE CARDINAL: With three games remaining in the 2000 season, Stanford finds itself in a must-win situation on Saturday at the Rose Bowl vs. UCLA. The Cardinal, now 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the Pacific-10 Conference, must beat UCLA, Arizona State (Nov. 11) and California (Nov. 18) to reach six wins and become bowl-eligible. Stanford and UCLA meet in Pasadena on Saturday in a 3:30 pm game that will be televised as part of the Fox Sports syndicatio n package The game can be seen on approximately 19 stations throughout the west, including KICU in the Bay Area A year ago, Stanford beat UCLA 42-32 at Stanford Stadium.

    STANFORD-UCLA SERIES: UCLA leads the all-time series with Stanford 38-29-3 in one of the most competitive series in the Pac-10 More recently, the two teams have split the last four meetings, Stanford winning in the Rose Bowl in 1996 and at Stanford Stadium last season UCLA has won nine of the last 16 games since 1984 Location has meant little in this series in recent years In fact, the home team is just 7-10 in the series since 1983 The two teams have split the last eight games played in the Rose Bowl since 1984.

    IN NOVEMBER: For the Cardinal to become bowl eligible, Stanford must win its final three games - all three of which will be played in the month of November That's good news for the Cardinal During the Tyrone Willingham Era (1995-1999), Stanford is 12-5 in November, including winning the last five games and six of the last seven dating back to the 1997 season Only once in five seasons under Willingham has the Cardinal had a losing record in November - that coming in '97 A year ago, Stanford was 3-0 in November as it beat Arizona State, Cal and Notre Dame In 1998, Stanford finished the season with November wins over Washington State and Cal

    CONFERENCE CATALOGUE: Stanford is 11-4 in its last 15 Pacific-10 Conference games During this time, the Cardinal is 3-0 vs. Washington State, 2-0 vs. USC and California, 1-0 vs. UCLA and Arizona State, 1-1 vs. Oregon State and Arizona and 0-2 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 2-3 thus far in '00 In Pac-10 road games, the Cardinal is 5-2 in its last seven conference games away from Stanford Stadium, including 1-1 this season (won at WSU, lost at OSU), 3-1 in 1999 and a win at Cal in the '98 season finale.

    CARDIAC CARDS: Three of Stanford's eight games this season have been decided in the final minutes, including the last two vs. USC and Washington Earlier this season, Stanford beat Texas on a TD pass with 1:12 to play Against USC, Stanford won on the game's final play Last week, the Cardinal scored the go-ahead touchdown with 53 seconds remaining, only to see Washington score the game-winner with 17 seconds on the clock In fact, three of Stanford's last four wins have come in dramatic fashion Along with this year's Texas and USC games, the Cardinal beat Notre Dame 40-37 in the 1999 regular season finale on a 22-yard Mike Biselli field goal on the game's final play Both of Stanford's late heroics this season have come with quarterback Chris Lewis coming off the bench in place of starter Randy Fasani Lewis hooked up with DeRonnie Pitts with 1:12 left in the game on a 15-yard scoring pass for the game-winning TD against Texas on Sept. 16 Against USC, it was Lewis and Jamien McCullum on a 20-yard TD pass on the game's final play to give the Cardinal a 32-30 win Last Saturday, Stanford scored three touchdowns in less than five minutes, the final one coming on a two-yard run by Fasani with 53 seconds left in the game Washington, howver, came right back to score the game-winner with 17 seconds left on the clock.

    ON THE GROUND: Stanford has rushed for 380 yards (190 per game) and scored six rushing touchdowns in the last two games after averaging 129.5 yards and scoring just one rushing TD through the first six games of the year Two weeks ago against USC,the Cardinal rushed for 198 yards on a season-high 55 carries while scoring a season-best four rushing touchdowns Last week, Stanford rushed for 182 yards and two TDs on 44 carries Prior to those two games, the Cardinal had gone five games without a rushing touchdown after scoring one in the season opener at Washington State.

    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 Ralston's nine-year run from 1963-71 Willingham has compiled an overall record of 33-32-1 His resume 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 (1978-79), 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 head coach to replace Bill Walsh on Nov. 28, 1994.

    SCHEDULE MAKER: Stanford's 2000 schedule is among the best in college football Six of the Cardinal's eight opponents this season have been ranked among the nation's top-25, including three that have appeared in the top-10 (Texas, Washington, USC) Stanford's opponents have a cumulative record of 56-33 - a winning percentage of .629.

    REVIEWING WASHINGTON: Stanford's miraculous comeback went for not last Saturday as Washington scored the game-winning TD with 17 seconds left in the game to pull out a 31-28 win Stanford trailed 24-6 with 5:57 to play in the game, but scored three touchdowns, with the help of two successful on-sides kicks, to take a 28-24 lead with 53 seconds remaining Randy Fasani threw a four-yard TD pass to DeRonnie Pitts with 5:23 left, then scored on a four-yard run with 2:33 left and a two-yard run with 53 seconds to play Washington then took three plays and just 36 seconds off the clock to drive 80 yards for the game-winning score, a 22-yard pass from Marques Tuiasosopo to Justin Robbins.

    MAKING A DIFFERENCE: In the five games in which Randy Fasani has started at quarterback, the Cardinal is not only 3-2, but its offensive production has been significantly better Consider the facts: in Fasani's five starts, Stanford is averaging 27.6 points, 414.4 yards of total offense (2,072 total), 254.6 yards passing (1,273 total) and 159.8 yards rushing (799 total) In the three games in which Fasani did not play, Stanford went 0-3 and averaged 7.6 points, 320 yards of total offense, 201 passing yards and 119 yards rushing.

    TURNOVER TALES: Stanford's turnover margin in 2000 has not been as successful as it was a year ago, when the Cardinal ranked second in the conference and tied for sixth in the nation with a +0.91 turnover margin For the season, Stanford was +10 in turnovers A year ago, Stanford took 30 turnovers and turned them into 87 points Through eight games in '00, the Cardinal has scored 13 points off turnovers In Stanford's three wins (Washington State, Texas, USC), the Cardinal is +3 in turnovers while in its five losses, Stanford is -8 in turnovers In the last 20 games ('99, '00), Stanford is 7-2 when it wins the turnover battle, 2-6 when it loses and 2-1 when the turnovers are even.

    YOUTH MOVEMENT: Stanford fields one of its youngest teams in recent years Only seven players, including six starters, off the current two-deep chart are in their final season of eligibility Of the 44 players listed on the team's regular two-deep chart, 19 players will return in 2001 for their final season of eligibility, 12 players have two years remaining (2001, '02), six have three years remaining after the 2000 season (2001, '02, '03) and seven will not return in 2001 Offensively, starting WR DeRonnie Pitts and TE Russell Stewart along with backup FB Emory Brock are the only three players currently in their final year of eligibility On the defensive side of the ball, Stanford returns everyone with the exception of DT Willie Howard, DE Sam Benner, OLB Riall Johnson and SS Aaron Focht.

    STARTING STREAKS: DT Willie Howard started his 42nd consecutive game last Saturday against Washington and, barring injury, has a chance to start every game of his college career if he remains in the starting lineup for the rest of the 2000 season Howard has started every game since being inserted into the lineup to begin the 1997 season Listed below are Stanford's longest current starting streaks:

    PENALTY BOX: Stanford once again leads the Pac-10 in fewest penalties The Cardinal is tops in the league in fewest penalties (47), penalty yards (343) and penalty yards per game (42.9) 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).

    NATIONAL ROSTER: Stanford's roster includes players from two countries and 28 states, making the Cardinal perhaps the most diverse team in college football Stanford has players from Canada and every region in the U.S. The Cardinal roster includes 24 players from California, seven from Pennsylvania, six each from Washington and Texas, four from Florida and Utah, three from Michigan, Ohio and Idaho, two from Mississippi, Nevada, Virginia and Missouri and one each from Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

    Weekly Luncheon Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham hosts a weekly news conference each Tuesday throughout the 2000 season beginning at 11:30 am in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center Selected Stanford players are also in attendance A teleconference from the opposing head coach is conducted ... A transcript of Willingham's comments will be available at www.gostanford.com following each news conference.

    Practices All practices are open to the media and fans unless otherwise noted ... Media credentials for field access are required and can be obtained by contacting the Media Relations Office ... Players and coaches will be available to the media for approximately 15 minutes following each practice.

    www.gostanford.com All Stanford news releases, updated statistics, depth chart, player bios and historical data is available at www.gostanford.com.

    Willingham Availability Head Coach Tyrone Willingham will be available for interviews between 2:20-2:45 pm Mon-Thurs. ... Contact the Media Relations Office at least 24 hours in advance to coordinate interviews ... Out-of-town interviews will also be conducted at this time.

    Radio Network KTCT (1050 am in San Francisco) will serve as Stanford's flagship radio station in 2000 The Cardinal football network includes KFIA (710 am in Sacramento), KBID (1350 am in Sacramento), KHJJ (1380 am in Palmdale), KIEZ (540 am in Monterey), KEZY (1190 am in Anaheim), KPSI (920 am in Palm Springs), KVTA (1520 am in Ventura), KVON (1440 am in Napa) and KFIG (1430 am in Fresno).

    Stanford Sports Magazine Fox Sports Net Bay Area will televise Stanford Sports Magazine each week throughout the 2000 season Each show will include comments and analysis from Cardinal head coach Tyrone Willingham as well as player features and interviews.

    Pac-10 Coaches Teleconference The Pacific-10 Conference will host five coaches teleconferences throughout the season ... Each coach is scheduled for 10 minutes ... Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham is scheduled for 9:55 -10:05 am ... The teleconferences begin at 9:30 am PT on the following dates: Sept. 12, Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Oct. 24 and Nov. 7 ... The number for media to call and participate is 913-981-5507.

    Pac-10 Satellite Feed A weekly satellite feed of Pac-10 highlights is available every Wednesday on Telstar 5, Transponder 16 from 12-12:30 pm PT.

    The Opponent

    Noting the Bruins UCLA began the season 3-0 with wins over Alabama and Michigan, both ranked No. 3 at gametime The Bruins found themselves ranked in the nation's top ten, but then proceeded to lose three of their next four games, all of which were in conference play Last week, UCLA beat Arizona 27-24 in Tucson as quarterback Cory Paus scored the winning touchdown on a 13-yard scramble with 48 seconds left in the game UCLA is now 5-3 overall and in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-10 (along with Stanford) with a 2-3 conferenc record UCLA needs one win to become bowl eligible The Bruins close out the season at Washington and at home vs. USC.

    Head Coach Bob Toledo Bob Toledo is in his fifth year at UCLA and 10th overall as a head coach His record at UCLA currently stands at 34-20 while his overall head coaching record, including four years at UOP (1979-82) and two years at UC Riverside (1974-75), is now 62-56 Toledo, a 1968 graduate of San Francisco State, was also an assistant coach for 17 years at UC Riverside (1973), USC (1976-78), Oregon (1983-88), Texas A&M (1989-93) and UCLA (1994-95) before becoming the Bruins' head coach in 1996 In four previous seasons, Toledo has led UCLA to a 5-6 record in '96,10-2 and a Cotton Bowl win in '97, 10-2 and a Rose Bowl appearance in '98 and 4-7 in '99.

    The Last Time Stanford ran its Pac-10 record to 3-0 for the first time since 1971 after a 42-32 win over UCLA on September 25 at Stanford Stadium The Cardinal led 21-3 at the half and 28-3 early in the third quarter before UCLA mounted a comeback and closed the gap to 35-32 midway through the fourth period FL Troy Walters set a school record with 278 receiving yards and he teammed with Joe Borchard on a 98-yard TD pass play, the longest in school and conference history Borchard, Stanford's No. 2 quarterback, replaced starter Todd Husak in the second quarter after Husak suffered bruised ribs Borchard proceeded to complete 15-of-19 for 324 yards and five touchdowns Stanford passed for 465 yards, the second highest single game total in school history.

    RIALL JOHNSON LEADS THE PASS RUSH: Fifth-year senior OLB Riall Johnson is making a bid to become the first player to ever lead the Pacific-10 Conference in sacks in back-to-back seasons (the Pac-10 began keeping the statistic in 1984) ... Johnson recorded two more sacks in Saturday's game against Washington to give him a Pac-10 leading 10 on the season ... Last year, Johnson finished with 13 sacks to tie for the Pac-10 lead with Mawu Tugenyoh of California ... Johnson's 10 sacks this season also makes him just the second player in school history to record 10 or more sacks in back-to-back seasons ... The only other Stanford player to accomplish that feat was Kailee Wong of the Minnesota Vikings, who recorded 12 in ?96 and ?97 ... In addition to his 10 sacks for (-65) yards, Johnson also is among the conference leaders with 14 tackles-for-loss ... He has recorded at least one tackle-for-loss in all eight games this season, including three against Washington, and a sack in six of the eight contests ... The Lynwood, Washington native, who has started 30 of the last 31 games dating back to 1998, also has 36 tackles (27 unassisted) and two passes defensed ... 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 USATODAY.com Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week honors ... Johnson has recorded two sacks or more in a game eight times in his career ... For his career, Johnson has 31 sacks (-226 yards) and 46 tackles-for-loss (-273 yards) ... Johnson, who moved to outside linebacker from defensive end prior to the 1999 season, also had a banner year in ?99 - tying for the Pac-10 lead in sacks with 13 (-108 yards) en route to second team all-conference honors ... The 13 sacks made Johnson just the fourth Cardinal since 1980 to record 10 or more sacks in a season (Wong 1996-97, Ron George 1990, ?92, Rob Hinckley 1988) ... In that ?99 campaign, he had the best game of his collegiate career with an amazing five sacks in a home victory over Washington State.

    PITTS MOVES INTO FIFTH ON PAC-10 RECEIVING YARDAGE LIST: Fifth-year senior WR DeRonnie Pitts moved into fifth place on the Pacific-10 Conference's all-time receiving yardage list in Saturday's game against Washington ... He had 71 yards receiving against the Huskies to give him 2,841 for his career, and move him past USC's Keyshawn Johnson (2,796) and into fifth place ... Pitts now needs 179 yards to catch UCLA's Danny Farmer (3,020) for fourth place ... The Saginaw, Michigan native also made Stanford history on Saturday by becoming just the third player in the history of the program to record 200 career receptions (not including bowl games) ... Pitts' 204 career catches ranks him behind only Darrin Nelson (214, 1977-81) and Troy Walters (244, 1996-99) on the school's all-time list ... He also needs just 240 yards (not including bowl games) to become only the second player in school history to record 3,000 career receiving yards ... Walters, who recorded 3,986 career receiving yards, is the only other Cardinal to reach that milestone.

    PITTS ENJOYING BANNER YEAR: Stanford WR DeRonnie Pitts burst onto the scene in 1998 with one of the finest seasons in school history - 74 receptions (tied for third in Stanford history) for 1,012 yards (fifth in school history) and seven touchdowns ... This season, Pitts is on his way to taking those numbers on step further ... With three games remaining, the Biletnikoff Award ?watch list? candidate has already recorded 59 receptions (44 percent of Stanford's catches) for 700 yards and six touchdowns ... He needs just five more catches to once again break into the school top 10 for receptions in a season, and is 29 shy of the school record established by Troy Walters in 1997 ... Pitts ranks fourth in all of Division I-A football and first in the Pac-10 with 7.38 receptions per game and is 22nd in the nation and third in the conference with 87.50 receiving yards per game ... He's also 25th in the nation and third in the conference in total receiving yards (700) and fifth in the conference in all-purpose yards (103.38) ... Pitts, who had eight of Stanford's 13 catches for 71 yards and a score against Washington, had the best game of his career two weeks ago against USC ... He had 13 catches - just one shy of the school record and most ever against USC - for 176 yards in the home win over the Trojans ... Those numbers marked Pitts' third 100-yard game of the season and 10th of his career ... Pitts' biggest catch of the year was a 15-yard score with 1:12 remaining that gave the Cardinal an upset win over then-#5 Texas.

    FASANI LEADS COMEBACK VS. WASHINGTON: Senior QB Randy Fasani (two years of eligibility remaining) led Stanford on scoring drives of 64, 58 and 48 yards in the final six minutes to erase a 24-6 deficit against #9 Washington ... Fasani scored two of those touchdowns on runs of 4 and 2 yards en route to a team-high 65 yards rushing on 13 carries (5.0 ypc) ... He also finished with 166 yards passing - 135 of them in the fourth quarter - on 13-of-30 with one touchdown and no interceptions ... Fasani, who missed three games (vs. Arizona, at Notre Dame, at Oregon State) with a strained ligament and torn cartilage in his left knee that was suffered in game #3 vs. Texas, is 68-of-137 (49.6 pct) on the season for 1,026 yards with seven touchdowns and just three interceptions ... Before going down with the knee injury, Fasani ranked among the national and conference leaders in virtually every passing category ... Fasani has played in 5 of 8 games (62.5 percent) this season, but must play in 75 percent of the Cardinal's games to re-qualify as one of the national and Pac-10 leaders ... Earlier this season 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.

    FASANI'S ROAD TO THE TOP: Prior to earning the starting quarterback job before the start of the 2000 campaign, Randy Fasani had proven himself to be one of the most versatile players in the Stanford football program ... Not only was Fasani a back-up quarterback, but he also saw action at wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and was a vital part of the Cardinal's special teams ... At QB, 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 ... He redshirted the ?97 campaign, and then appeared in 10 games (mainly in goal line situations) at QB in '98 ... He went 8-of-16 for 81 yards with an interception and a touchdown in those 10 games, and also rushed for three touchdowns to tie for the team lead in that category ... Fasani started the ?99 season as the No. 3 quarterback behind Todd Husak and Joe Borchard, but prior to game #7 at USC was switched to inside linebacker in order to get his athleticism on the field ... Prior to moving to linebacker, Fasani appeared in three games at QB in ?99 and went 1-of-6 for 13 yards.

    LOMBARDI AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED SATURDAY: Earlier this month, 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 ... The group of 12 semifinalists will now be cut to four finalists this Saturday (Nov. 4) ... Howard, who was a 2000 Preseason First Team All-American selection by Athlon and Second Team Preseason All-American pick 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 42 consecutive starts dating back to 1997, has 37 tackles (22 unassisted), six tackles for loss (-31 yards) and four quarterback sacks (-29 yards) ... Howard had one of his best statistical games of 2000 last week with seven tackles (three unassisted), one sack and tackle-for-loss and one pass defensed ... All totaled, he has 37 career tackles-for-loss (-162 yards) and 21.5 career sacks (-129 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? by finishing 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.

    Notebook

    * - Stanford's defense has improved from a year ago in passing yards allowed,total yards allowed and points allowed per game In 1999, Stanford gave up 304.9 yards passing per game, 452.8 yards in total offense and 27.5 points This season, those numbers read: 214.8 yards passing allowed, 376.4 total yards and 27.5 points.

    * - Stanford has 15 players on its 2000 roster from Southern California - RB Brian Allen (Ontario/Damien HS), CB Chijioke Asomugha (Lawndale/Narbonne HS), DE Sam Benner (Ventura/St. Bonaventure HS), S Colin Branch (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), OG Andy Clavin (Beverly Hills/Beverly Hills HS), ILB Matt Friedrichs (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), ILB Anthony Gabriel (San Diego/Morse HS), ILB Amon Gordon (San Diego/Mira Mesa HS), QB Teyo Johnson (San Diego/Mira Mesa HS), DE Matt Leonard (Agua Dulce/Palmdale HS), QB Chris Lewis (Long Beach/Long Beach Poly HS), OT Mike Sullivan (Vista/Vista HS), DE Will Svitek (Newbury Park/Newbury Park HS), OG Damion Tinsley (Gardena/Serra HS) and CB Stanley Wilson (Carson/Bishop Montgomery HS).

    * - Stanford needs to win each of its final three games to become bowl eligible ... In Tyrone Willingham's five seasons at the helm, Stanford is a combined 11-4 (.733) over the final three weeks of the regular season ... The Cardinal finished 2-1 in ?95, 3-0 in ?96, 1-2 in '97, 2-1 in '98 and 3-0 in '99.

    * - Senior Coy Wire was one of the Cardinal's top running backs in both '98 and '99 before moving to the defensive side of the ball this spring ... The transition has proved to be an easy one ...Wire has emerged as one of the top defensive players both on the team and in the conference this season with 53 tackles (35 unassisted), nine tackles-for-loss (-34 yards) and five quarterback sacks (-26 yards), all of which rank second on the team ... The five sacks ranks Wire fifth in the Pac-10 ... Wire had nine tackles (six unassisted) vs. Washington to lead the team in that category for the second straight week ... Wire has now recorded a tackle-for-loss in six of Stanford's eight games this season ... Wire led Stanford in rushing in ?98 with 298 yards - despite missing the final five games because of injury - and rushed for 317 yards and four scores last season.

    * - Behind RBs Kerry Carter and Brian Allen, the Cardinal has one of the top one-two combinations in the Pac-10 The duo has combined to rush for 892 yards on 214 caries through eight games ... Carter has rushed for a team-high 504 yards on 126 carries (4.0 ypc), and tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns against USC ... He finished with 123 carries on 20 yards against the Trojans, which is the highest single game total on the team this season ... On special teams, Carter also recovered both of Stanford's onsides kicks during the miraculous comeback against Washington .. Allen has rushed for 388 yards on 88 carries (4.4 ypc), including a season-best 10-carry, 95-yard effort against San Jose State ... Last season, Allen paced Stanford's rushing attack with 604 yards and four touchdowns on 115 carries (5.3 ypc).


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