STANFORD, Calif. - David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football at Stanford University, has good depth at running back and still hopes to run by committee this season. However, through two games, it seems clear that Tyler Gaffney has become his workhorse.
In a 34-13 opener-season win against San Jose State, Gaffney ran for 104 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns. He carried the load again Saturday at Army, running for a career-high 132 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown, and also caught a 23-yard scoring pass from Kevin Hogan.
“He’s extremely strong right now and can take the pounding,” Shaw said.
After spending last year playing minor league baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the bruising 6-foot-1, 226-pound Gaffney seems to have regained his stride.
“It’s been a surreal experience to be out there,” he said. “These guys around me make it easy. I just try to go out there and do my job and everybody else does their job. It’s like riding a bike.”
Shaw was also pleased with running back Anthony Wilkerson, who ran four times for 12 yards.
“They run so hard,” he said. “They’re big, physical guys and drag people. To be the team we want to be – physical between the tackles – we need those two guys. Those two guys are our horses right now. We need that for our identity. It also helps our play-action pass game.”
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Junior wide receiver Ty Montgomery had another big game, amassing 233 all-purpose yards. He caught six passes for 130 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown, rushed twice for 30 yards, and brought back three kickoffs for 73 yards.
Last week against San Jose State, he caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, rushed once for four yards and ran back one kickoff for 36 yards.
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Josh Mauro, part of a four-man rotation that includes Ben Gardner, Henry Anderson and David Parry, played well against the Black Knights; so well, that he was lauded by Shaw for playing his best game. Mauro’s seven tackles – six unassisted – tied outside linebacker James Vaughters for game-high honors.
“I consider Josh a starter,” said Shaw. “Josh Mauro is going to play in the NFL. He played with reckless abandon.”
Coming into the game, the defense has been stout against the run, but allowed 284 yards to run-happy Army’s triple option. This, after Stanford surrendered only 35 yards rushing against San Jose State.
“It’s hard to defend it,” Shaw said of the potent Army running game. “It takes a half to get used to the speed.”
The Cardinal did not record a quarterback sack – Army attempted only 10 passes in the game, but did collect five tackles for loss, two by strong safety Ed Reynolds.
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Vaughters recovered a third quarter fumble to extend Stanford’s streak of forcing at least one turnover in a nation-best 26-sraight games.
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The new rankings came out Sunday and Stanford remains No. 5 in the AP poll, but slipped from fourth to fifth in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Arizona State (2-0), which overcame mistakes and a late scare from Wisconsin to pull out a 32-30 home victory Saturday night, is now ranked 23rd in both polls. The Cardinal puts its 10-game winning streak on the line against ASU Saturday at Stanford Stadium at 4 p.m. in a game that will be nationally-televised by Fox Sports.
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Well-rested punter Ben Rhyne finally saw action against Army, averaging 48.5 on two attempts. Stanford did not punt against San Jose State … Army finished with a nearly eight-minute time of possession advantage against the Cardinal, running 71 plays to Stanford’s 56 … After converting 12 of 15 times on third down against San Jose State, the Cardinal offense converted six of 11 times against Army … WR Francis Owusu played on the punt team and became the first true freshman to see the field this season … Also making his college debut was sophomore defensive tackle Ikenna Nwafor …. Former Stanford great John Elway was on the Cardinal sideline … Kudos to the Army Band for playing the Stanford Fight Song “All Right Now.” … Cardinal coaches, players and staff received a private tour of the West Point campus on Friday … Hogan (Virginia), center Khalil Wilkes (New Jersey) and wide receiver Devon Cajuste (New York) had large cheering sections of family and friends.
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