Oct. 1, 2012
No. 18 Stanford Cardinal (3-1 1-1 Pac-12)
Arizona Wildcats (3-2 0-2 Pac-12)
October 6, 2012 Noon (PT)
Stanford Stadium (50,000) Stanford, Calif.
Television Live national broadcast on FOX with Craig Bolerjack (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst) and Petros Papadakis (sideline).
Radio Live coverage on Stanford's flagship station - KNBR 1050 AM - with Dave Flemming (play-by-play), Todd Husak (analyst) and John Platz (sideline). All radio broadcasts begin one hour prior to kickoff with the Cardinal Tailgate Show and conclude with the postgame Cardinal Locker Room Report. The game can also be heard live on Stanford student radio KZSU 90.1 FM and at kzsulive.stanford.edu.
Live Stats Live in-game statistics will be provided through GameTracker via GoStanford.com.
Polls Stanford (18th - AP, 18th - USA Today) Arizona (RV - AP, NR - USA Today)
Tickets Stanford Athletics Ticket Office GoStanford.com 1.800.STANFORD
On the Web GoStanford.com ArizonaWildcats.com Pac-12.com
Inside the Huddle
The Cardinal returns to Stanford Stadium Saturday against Arizona for its fourth home game this season. The Cardinal is 3-0 at home in 2012 to extend its home winning streak to five games. Stanford also has won 16 of its last 17 home contests.
Stanford has won eight straight games in the month of October dating back to Oct. 9, 2010.
Stanford looks to rebound against Arizona after dropping a 17-13 decision last week at Washington. The Cardinal has bounced back with victories after each of its last six defeats dating back to 2009. The last time Stanford lost back-to-back games came in 2009 (Oct. 10 vs. Oregon State; Oct. 17 vs. Arizona).
Stanford owns active winning streaks against 10 of its 12 regular season 2012 opponents: San Jose State (W5), Duke (W3), USC (W4), Arizona (W2), Notre Dame (W3), Cal (W2), Washington State (W4), Colorado (W3), Oregon State (W2) and UCLA (W3). The Cardinal has a two-game losing streak to Oregon and lost its most recent game to Washington.
Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of Stanford's program-revitalizing win at USC on Oct. 6, 2007, when the Cardinal was a 41-point underdog and came out victorious in what is known as "The Greatest Upset Ever". Other famous Stanford games played on Oct. 6 include the 1990 upset win at No. 1 Notre Dame behind Tommy Vardell's four rushing touchdowns; the 1979 win over UCLA on the last-second, 56-yard field goal by Ken Naber; and the 20-17 upset win at the Rose Bowl over UCLA in 1984 behind the play of backup quarterback Fred Buckley.
Arizona brings to Stanford Stadium the Pac-12's fourth-best scoring offense (34.8) and third-best rushing offense (194.4). Stanford boasts the league's second-best scoring defense (15.2) and its top rushing defense (65.2).
Stanford is one of the least penalized teams in the league (5.3 per game for 37.5 yards), though Arizona leads the Pac-12 in opponent penalties (10.2 per game for 101.6 yards per game).
Senior tight end Zach Ertz is coming off an outing at Washington that featured career highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (106). Over his last two games, the 6-foot-6 Ertz has hauled in 177 yards while becoming the go-to target for senior quarterback Josh Nunes.
Saturday's football game is part of Stanford University's Reunion Homecoming Weekend. The Cardinal has won its last four Homecoming games (Oct. 22, 2011 vs. Washington; Oct. 23, 2010 vs. Washington State; Oct. 24, 2009 vs. Arizona State; Oct. 11, 2008 vs. Arizona).
As part of the Pac-12's new scheduling format which now includes Thursday conference games, Stanford will have experienced a three-week gap between Saturday's game with Arizona and its last game played on a Saturday (Sept. 15 vs. USC).
Last Matchup Against Arizona - Sept. 17, 2011
Andrew Luck dinked and dunked passes, winged a few into impossibly tight spots. Stepfan Taylor churned out yards, more than he ever had. The big, powerful line seemed to get better and more bruising as the game wore on.
Balanced and efficient, Stanford was a lot like Arizona would like to be - heck, any team would like to be at this point.
Luck threw for 325 yards and had both of his touchdown passes in the second half, Taylor ran for a career-high 153 yards and the sixth-ranked Cardinal pulled away for a 37-10 victory over Arizona in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
Struggling to find the end zone in the first half, Stanford wore Arizona down in the second.
Luck picked the Wildcats apart on 20-of-31 passing, throwing touchdown passes to Zach Ertz in the third quarter and Levine Toilolo in the fourth. Stanford shut Arizona out in the second half and had a balanced 567 yards overall to win its 11th straight game, the Cardinal's longest run since taking 13 straight from 1939-41.
Nick Foles threw for 239 yards and a touchdown, but couldn't overcome Arizona's struggling offensive line by himself.
The junior hit 24 of 33 passes, but was sacked five times and the Wildcats, one of the nation's worst rushing teams, had another anemic game on the ground, netting just 51 yards rushing on 23 carries in their sixth straight loss to an FBS team.
Stanford ran its winning streak to 11 games, which at the time was the longest active streak in the nation.
Stepfan Taylor notched his eighth career 100-yard rushing game and a (then) career-best 153 rushing yards.
Andrew Luck's 16-yard TD pass to Zach Ertz with 5:22 left in the third quarter and 34-yard pass to Levine Toilolo in the fourth were the 52nd and 53rd, respectively, in his career, moving past Jim Plunkett for third all-time.
It was not only the first career touchdown for Levine Toilolo but also his first 100-yard game.
Head coach David Shaw improved his overall record to 3-0, becoming the second Stanford head coach to do so since since Jack Christiansen in 1972.
Jordan Williamson kicked a (then) career-best 45-yard field goal in the second quarter and hit three first half field goals.
Anthony Wilkerson scored his first rushing touchdown of the season at the 1:59 mark in the first quarter.
Stanford improved to 28-13 over the last three-plus seasons and 23-6 dating back to the 2009 campaign.
In a series that dates back to 1979, Stanford trails the series against Arizona 13-14 (.481). Saturday's game marks the 28th meeting between the two programs.
The Cardinal has won seven of the last nine matchups. Each of the last two meetings have come in the form of convincing Stanford wins as the Cardinal has outscored the Wildcats, 79-27.
Since 1999 (when Stanford halted Arizona's six-game series winning streak with a resounding 50-22 victory at Arizona Stadium) the Cardinal has gone 8-3 against the Wildcats.
The Cardinal is 5-7 at home against the Wildcats and 7-7 on the road. In 1986, the schools played a neutral site game in Tokyo, Japan, with Stanford winning, 29-24.
Despite the series being relatively back-and-forth, Arizona holds the longest winning streak in the series, having won six straight games from 1991 to 1998. The Cardinal's longest winning streak in the series is three in a row from 2001 to 2005.
THE LAST MEETING
September 17, 2011
Neither team has posted a shutout in the series history.
Stanford and Arizona never met prior to the Wildcats joining the Pac-10 in 1978. Arizona previously played in the Western Athletic Conference.
This is the first meeting in this series between second-year Stanford head coach David Shaw and first-year Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Stanford and Arizona are scheduled to miss each other in the 2013 and 2014 regular seasons as part of the scheduling rotation for Pac-12 North / South Division schools.
Series: Stanford trails, 13-14 (.481)
First meeting: 1979 at Arizona - Stanford 30, Arizona 10
Last meeting: 2011 at Arizona - Stanford 37, Arizona 10
Series streak: Stanford - W2 (7 of last 9)
Cardinal-Wildcats Player Connections
Stanford's roster includes 10 players from the state of Arizona, including fifth-year senior CB Harold Bernard (Chandler/Chandler HS), senior OLB Trent Murphy (Phoenix/Brophy College Prep), senior RB Andrew Stutz (Scottsdale/Notre Dame Prep), senior WR Drew Terrell (Chandler/Hamilton HS), junior SS Devon Carrington (Chandler/Hamilton HS), junior WR Keanu Nelson (Tucson/Sabino HS), sophomore DE Alex Yazdi (Cave Creek/Cactus Shadows HS), freshman ILB Blake Martinez (Tucson/Canyon del Oro HS), freshman SS Zach Hoffpauir (Glendale/Centennial HS) and freshman OT Andrus Peat (Chandler/Corona del Sol HS).
Arizona's roster features four players from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Between Stanford and Arizona, Saturday's matchup will display 84 players from the state of California, 37 players from Arizona and 23 players from Texas.
A Look Back at Washington
Stanford suffered its first defeat of 2012 and its first regular-season loss to a team other than Oregon since Nov. 21, 2009.
Stanford was denied a 4-0 record for the third straight season, a feat last accomplished on The Farm from 1950-52.
Stanford's saw its streak of 11 straight wins in the month of September dating back to the 2008 campaign snapped.
Stanford led throughout until giving up a 35-yard touchdown reception by Kasen Williams with 4:53 remaining in the game. It was the first fourth-quarter score allowed by Stanford this season and the first passing touchdown allowed since the season-opener against San Jose State.
The defeat snapped strings of four straight wins over Washington, three straight road wins at Washington, four straight road opener wins and four straight Pac-12 road opener wins.
Washington running back Bishop Sankey became the first 100-yard rusher against Stanford this season when he broke a 61-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter. The last previous rusher to break the century mark against the Cardinal defense was Oregon's LaMichael James (Nov. 12, 2011).
Stanford's offense failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 23-6 loss to Oregon State on Oct. 27, 2007.
Kicker Jordan Williamson put Stanford's first two scores on the board with a pair of field goals (31, 28). Williamson finished the game 2 for 2 on field goals, reversing a streak of four straight field goal misses.
The Cardinal's lone touchdown at Washington was a 40-yard interception return by senior outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who reached his long 6-foot-6 frame to tip Keith Price's pass before collecting the ball and out-running all Huskies to the end zone. It was the first career interception and first career touchdown for Murphy, who also recorded a tackle for loss and matched a team-high with seven total tackles.
Seven Stanford defenders recorded tackles for loss in the game against Washington. Senior nose tackle Terrence Stephens and sophomore inside linebacker James Vaughters each recorded their first TFL on the season.
The Cardinal defense was quick to get off the field most drives of the evening, holding Washington to six three-and-out possessions, one four-and-out turnover on downs and one interception on the first play of a drive. Stanford forced Washington to punt on seven of its first eight possessions.
Washington punted nine times on the evening, not one of which was returned.
Senior quarterback Josh Nunes completed 18 of 37 passing for 170 yards and an interception in his first loss as Stanford's starting quarterback.
Senior tight end Zach Ertz was Nunes' favorite target throughout the night, recording the long reception of the game (35 yards) and leading Stanford with 106 receiving yards on six receptions - both career highs.
Senior running back Stepfan Taylor was held to 75 net yards rushing on 21 carries and his first game without a rushing touchdown since a visit to Notre Dame on Nov. 26, 2011. Taylor's 20th carry of the night resulted in a loss of four yards, the first negative rushing play for Taylor in his last 59 carries.
Stanford finished the game 5 of 18 on third down conversions. Washington finished 4 of 17 on its third downs.
Stanford rushed for 446 yards against Washington in 2011 to set a school single-game record and averaged 10.1 yards on each of its 44 carries. In 2012, the Cardinal rushed for 65 yards on 28 attempts.
It Happened Against Arizona
1979 - In the first ever meeting between the two schools, Stanford defeated Arizona in Tucson, 30-10. Turk Schoenert completed 17-of-20 passes for 194 yards while sophomore linebacker Dave Morze finished with 15 tackles and an interception in his first career start.
1982 - Stanford squandered a 27-13 lead with 12:46 remaining as the Wildcats scored 28 points in a span of 9:49 to defeat the Cardinal, 41-27, at Stanford Stadium. John Elway completed 22-of-33 passes for 359 yards to set an NCAA completion record (720), breaking the old mark held by Purdue's Mark Herrmann.
1983 - Freshman quarterback John Paye completed 22-of-28 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns as Stanford upset Arizona, 31-22, at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal brought an 0-6 record into the game against a 5-1-1 Wildcat team that had been ranked as high as third in the polls during the season. Emile Harry caught 10 passes for 179 yards, which marked the third highest receiving yardage total in school history.
1984 - Stanford linebacker Tom Briehl returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in a 28-14 setback in Tucson.
1985 - Stanford rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit and scored 21 unanswered points - including 14 in the fourth quarter - to upset 19th-ranked Arizona, 28-17. John Paye, who suffered a separated shoulder the week before against USC, came of the bench to lead the Cardinal on three second half scoring drives.
1986 - Stanford defeated Arizona, 29-24 in front of 55,000 fans at Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The two teams combined for seven fumbles, five interceptions and amassed 142 yards in penalties.
1992 - Stanford was held to -33 rushing yards in a 21-6 loss at Stanford Stadium.
1999 - Stanford quarterback Todd Husak completed 21-of-35 passes for 364 yards and one touchdown and Tim Smith picked off three passes as the Cardinal defeated the Wildcats, 50-22, in Tucson. The win snapped Arizona's six-game winning streak in the series.
2001 - Brian Allen rushed for 143 yards on 23 carries in a 51-37 victory in Tucson. The rushing total was the highest ever recorded by a Stanford back against Arizona.
2006 - Arizona held Stanford to just 52 yards in total offense, its lowest output in school history, as the Cardinal dropped a 20-7 decision at Stanford Stadium. Stanford's lone touchdown came on a 72-yard interception return by Wopamo Osaisai.
2008 - Third-string quarterback Alex Loukas led Stanford on a late scoring drive capped by Toby Gerhart's 1-yard touchdown run with 24 seconds remaining to lift the Cardinal to a 24-23 home win.
2009 - Stanford and Arizona combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense as the Wildcats rallied for a 43-38 home win. Andrew Luck threw for 423 yards and three touchdowns and Toby Gerhart ran for 123 yards and two scores.
2010 - Stepfan Taylor scored four touchdowns and Andrew Luck passed for 293 yards and two scores as Stanford dominated Arizona, 42-17.
2011 - Stefan Taylor rushed for a career-high 153 yards and Andrew Luck threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-10 win at Arizona Stadium. The Cardinal defense blanked the Wildcats in the second half and recorded 10 tackles for losses, including five sacks.
October 6: A Date That Will Live in Cardinal History
October 6 is very well the most memorable date in modern Stanford football history.
Stanford's 2007 upset of No. 2 ranked USC - now recognized as one of the greatest college football upsets of all time - cemented the date October 6 as the most hallowed date on the Stanford Football calendar.
In the last 40 years, not only has Stanford won each time it has played a football game on October 6, the nature of each Cardinal win on that date has been truly remarkable.
Here is a summary of each of these remarkable, memorable October games:
October 6, 1973 (Champaign, Ill.) - Stanford 24, Illinois 0
Stanford's last non-conference road shutout win.
Nearly 40 seasons have gone by without a Stanford team equaling that rare non-conference road game achievement.
October 6, 1979 (Stanford, Calif.) - Stanford 27, UCLA 24
Ken Naber kicked a 56-yard field goal on the last play to win the game for Stanford. The ball hit the left upright as it went through the goalposts, clearing the crossbar by just three feet.
Two Stanford freshmen were key on the pressure play; the snapper was Mike Teeuws and the holder was John Elway.
October 6, 1984 (Pasadena, Calif.) - Stanford 20, UCLA 17
Little-used backup quarterback Fred Buckley, subbing for injured starter John Paye, steered Stanford to an upset win at the Rose Bowl over a heavily-favored UCLA team that would finish 9-3.
A win in southern California is always a prize, and was fairly rare in that decade of Stanford football.
October 6, 1990 (Notre Dame, Ind.) - Stanford 36, Notre Dame 31
Four rushing touchdowns by running back Tommy Vardell helped the Cardinal overturn the nation's top-ranked team at Notre Dame Stadium. "Touchdown Tommy" became a well-known moniker not only on the Stanford campus but throughout the college football world.
October 6, 2007 (Los Angeles, Calif.) - Stanford 24, USC 23
It was USC, it was the Los Angeles Coliseum and it was as David vs. Goliath as any Stanford-USC matchup has ever been.
Prognosticators had been predicting a 40-point Stanford defeat. The game-winning, final-minute, Tavita Pritchard-to-Mark Bradford touchdown pass has been replayed thousands of times on television and the game earned a prominent spot in the list of all-time upsets in any sport.
-- courtesy of John Platz
Stanford's first four opponents in 2012 are a combined 13-1 in games not played against the Cardinal. San Jose State (4-1), Duke (4-1) and USC (3-1) have only lost to the Cardinal this season, while Washington (3-1) lost at LSU. In its most recent games, San Jose State defeated Navy, 12-0; Duke defeated Wake Forest, 34-27; and USC two weeks ago defeated Cal, 27-9.
In the new era of Pac-12 Conference scheduling, Stanford plays two non-Saturday games in 2012. The Cardinal opened the season Aug. 31 (Friday) at home versus San Jose State; Stanford played at Washington Sept. 27 for the Cardinal's third Thursday night game in the last 15 years (`08 vs. Oregon State, `98 at Arizona State).
The Oct. 6 game versus Arizona is a part of Reunion Homecoming weekend on The Farm. The Cardinal is not scheduled to play Arizona again in the regular season until 2015, as part of the new North / South Divisions schedule structure of the Pac-12 Conference.
Stanford and rival Cal will play the 115th edition of the Big Game in an unprecedented October setting when the Cardinal travels to Berkeley on Oct. 20.
The Cardinal will travel as a conference foe for the first time to Boulder, Colo., to face Colorado on Nov. 3. Stanford last played at Colorado in a 1990 non-conference affair.
When Stanford hosts Washington State on Oct. 27, the Cardinal will celebrate its Football Alumni Reunion and honor the 20th anniversary of the 1992 team led by head coach Bill Walsh, which finished 10-2 with a 24-3 victory over Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl.
The Nov. 10 home game versus Oregon State is the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame game, including attendance by and honor of the newest Hall of Fame inductees.
For the second straight season, Stanford will miss Arizona State and Utah in the Pac-12 Conference's interdivision rotation. The Cardinal will face both opponents for home-and-home matchups in 2013-14.
Stanford's road schedule will also take the Cardinal to Notre Dame (Oct. 13), Oregon (Nov. 17) and UCLA (Nov. 24).
The second annual Pac-12 Championship game will be played on the campus of the division winner with the best overall conference record.
Stanford is ranked 18th in the USA Today Coaches' poll (Sept. 30).
The Cardinal is ranked 18th in the Associated Press Top 25 (Sept. 30), marking the 37th straight week Stanford has been ranked among the AP's Top 25. The streak is tied for the fifth longest in the nation, dating back to Sept. 5, 2010. Prior to the 2012 AP preseason poll, the Cardinal had been ranked 23 consecutive weeks among its top 10.
Stanford has been ranked in the preseason AP poll 16 times, while the Cardinal appeared in a program-best 43 straight weekly polls from 1969-72.
Stanford finished the 2011 season ranked No. 7 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches' polls, marking the second straight season the Cardinal had finished inside the top 10 after being ranked No. 4 at the conclusion of the 2010 season.
Doing It On Defense
Stanford's rushing defense is ranked third in the nation, allowing 65.0 yards per game and 2.34 yards per carry. The Washington game marked the first time a team (and player) rushed for 100 yards against Stanford since Oregon did so on Nov. 12, 2011.
Stanford is one of only six teams in FBS football to hold each of its opponents this season to fewer than 20 points in games (San Jose State - 17, Duke - 13, USC - 14, Washington - 17). The Cardinal's scoring defense (15.25) ranks 21st in the nation.
Opponents have scored a total of 10 points against Stanford's defense in first quarters of games this season, while only Washington (seven points) has scored against the Cardinal in a fourth quarter.
Stanford defenders have snared seven interceptions this season, led by junior free safety Ed Reynolds (three) and sophomore strong safety Jordan Richards (two). The Cardinal totaled seven interceptions all of 2011.
Jordan Richards ranks fourth in the nation in passes defended at 2.25 per game (seven passes broken up and two interceptions).
The Cardinal defense has allowed only two passing scores this season, including a span of 192:24 of game time on the field without allowing a passing touchdown that ended in the final minutes versus Washington.
The Stanford defense has been quick to get off the field in 2012, with 20 three-and-out possessions through four games. The Cardinal ranks fourth in the nation in third down defensive efficiency, allowing a conversion rate of only 24.6 percent.
In 2011, Stanford finished third nationally in rushing defense, sixth in third down conversion defense (31.0; 51-164) and 11th in sacks per game (3.00).
All Eyes on the O-Line
The Cardinal's 2012 offensive line carried over just two starters in the same positions as last year: fifth-year senior C Sam Schwartzstein and junior RT Cameron Fleming. Senior RG Kevin Danser and senior LG Khalil Wilkes have debuted this year in the starting lineup, while junior David Yankey has been working at a new position at left tackle after starting 13 games in 2011 at left guard.
Stanford's offensive line has allowed just four quarterback sacks through four games this season (1.00 average), best in the Pac-12 and tied for 21st in the country. In 2011, the Cardinal allowed 11 sacks in 13 games (0.85) for seventh-best in the nation, and six sacks in 13 games (0.46) which ranked second in 2010.
The ground game is averaging 128.5 yards per game, including a season-high 202 rushing yards against USC. The well-nicknamed "Tunnel Workers Union" moved earth and defenders to the tune of 210.6 rushing yards per game in 2011 (18th in the nation), 213.8 yards in 2010 (17th) and 218.2 yards in 2009 (11th).
Three true freshmen have seen action on the offensive line this year for Stanford: OG Joshua Garnett, OT Kyle Murphy and OT Andrus Peat. As all three rated as five-star recruits out of high school and headlined Stanford's 2012 signing class, the talented trio of frosh have played both in the main five offensive line positions and in the Cardinal's six- and seven-linemen offensive sets.
Twenty-eight percent of Stanford's offensive plays in 2011 contained more than five offensive linemen on the field.
The myriad positions played by Stanford's offensive linemen can sometimes call personnel into alternate jersey numbers. Junior OG Dillon Bonnell (No. 75) has worn No. 96 in action this season and freshman OT Kyle Murphy (No. 78) has donned No. 94. Murphy even has had one pass attempt thrown his way.
Behind Enemy Lines
Stanford's vaunted 3-4 defense ranks fourth in the NCAA with an average of 9.0 tackles per loss (36 total) for the season. Sixteen different Cardinal players have recorded a tackle for loss in 2012. That breaks down to five defensive linemen (9.5 total TFLs), seven linebackers (16.0 total TFLs) and four defensive backs (10.5 total TFLs).
Four Stanford defenders currently are ranked in the Pac-12's top-15 in tackles for loss: senior OLB Trent Murphy and senior NB Usua Amanam each have 1.38 TFLs/game (5.5 total), tied for 12th; fifth-year senior OLB Chase Thomas and senior DE Ben Gardner each have 1.25 TFLs/game (5.0 total), tied for 14th.
In the season opener against San Jose State, the Cardinal notched 11 tackles for loss - led by Usua Amanam (4.0) and Chase Thomas (2.0). Seven different Cardinal players recorded tackles for loss in the game. Stanford stacked on six more tackles for loss against Duke. Nine different Cardinal defenders notched tackles for loss against USC, totaling 12 in the game. Ben Gardner led the way with 3.5 TFLs and was honored as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Seven Stanford defenders recorded seven solo tackles for loss at Washington.
Stanford's defense finished 11th in the nation in sacks (3.0) last season and 28th in tackles for loss (6.85).
Stanford's special teams are getting started on the right foot, boasting the Pac-12's top punt return average of 22.3 yards led by senior Drew Terrell. The Cardinal's kickoff coverage team has also cast a tight web with a net of 46.2 yards per kickoff (1st in Pac-12).
Sophomore kickoff returner Ty Montgomery has been used in spots this season, returning six kicks for a 27.8-yard average. Montgomery brought the opening kickoff against USC back 64 yards.
Of Stanford's last 17 wins dating back to the 2010 season, 12 have been by 25 points or more, while its average margin of victory in its last 17 wins has been 24.3 points (413 total).
Stanford's last 34 victories dating back to the 2009 season have come by an average margin of 24.0 points (817 total), while its eight losses have come by a margin of 7.5 points (60 total).
The Cardinal is 11-10 in its last 21 games decided by a touchdown or less.
Stanford has compiled a 34-9 (.791) record over the last four seasons, finishing 8-5 in 2009, 12-1 in 2010 and 11-2 last season. The Cardinal's 34 wins rank second only to Oregon's 38 among Pac-12 teams during this stretch, while its .791 winning percentage ties for sixth among all FBS teams.
Stanford is one of just six teams in the nation that has compiled 26 or more wins over the last three seasons along with LSU (29), Oregon (29), TCU (28), Alabama (27) and Boise State (27). The Cardinal's .867 winning percentage since 2010 is sixth-best among FBS teams during that stretch.
The Cardinal has posted a 23-6 record in Pac-12 Conference play over the last three-plus seasons, which ranks second only to Oregon's 27-2 mark. Prior to its 8-5 finish in 2009, the Cardinal suffered through seven straight losing seasons, compiling a 25-55 record from 2002-08.
Stanford has recorded four of the school's top five single-season rushing marks over the last four seasons. In 2009, the Cardinal ran for a school-record 2,837 yards behind Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart. In 2010, the Cardinal finished with 2,779 yards on the ground, which ranks as the second best mark in school history.
Last season, Stanford finished with 2,738 yards - good for third all-time. The Cardinal rushed for a school-record 446 yards in the Oct. 22 contest versus Washington.
Of Stanford's 935 plays from scrimmage last season, 55.4 percent (518) were rushing plays while 44.6 (417) were pass attempts. From 2009 through 2011, Stanford rushed the ball on 59.8 percent of its offensive plays (1,589-2,657).
The Home Record
Stanford is 26-3 (.897) in its last 29 home games dating back to the final home contest of the 2007 season, with its only home losses coming against No. 6 USC (2008), California (2009) and No. 6 Oregon (2011) during that stretch.
The Cardinal had won 11 straight home games at Stanford Stadium prior to its 53-30 loss to Oregon on Nov. 12 of last season. The current home winning streak stands at five games.
Stanford is averaging 39.0 points a game (1,091 total) over its last 28 home games while allowing just 21.0 (588 total).
The Stanford Trees
Stanford's tight end tandem of Zach Ertz (27-346-4) and Levine Toilolo (25-343-6) combined to catch 52 passes for 689 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. The duo has combined for 23 receptions, 389 yards and two touchdowns in the opening four games of 2012. Ertz and Toilolo are two of the Cardinal's three leading receivers this season.
Following his three receptions for 71 yards and the game-winning touchdown against USC, Zach Ertz was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week. Ertz followed the next game against Washington with career highs of six receptions and 106 yards.
Last season, tight ends accounted for more than half (20 of 38) of Stanford's touchdown receptions, with Coby Fleener leading the team with 10 TD grabs.
Six tight ends currently on NFL rosters were grown on "The Farm" - Jim Dray (Arizona Cardinals), Coby Fleener (Indianapolis Colts), Erik Lorig (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Evan Moore (Seattle Seahawks), Konrad Reuland (New York Jets) and Alex Smith (Cleveland Browns).
One of the top running backs in the Pac-12 Conference and a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, Stepfan Taylor figures prominently on many of Stanford's career lists in his senior season. He ranks third on Stanford's all-time career rushing list with 3,183 yards, earlier this month against Duke passing Brad Muster (2,940). Taylor needs 339 yards to catch Toby Gerhart and 850 more to tie Darrin Nelson for first place. Taylor's 30 career rushing touchdowns are third all-time on The Farm, and he needs seven more to tie Tommy Vardell for second all-time.
Taylor's 3,183 yards career rushing currently ranks sixth among active rushers in the NCAA and his 609 career carries ranks fourth.
Taylor's 15 100-yard games rank third on Stanford's all-time career list behind only Toby Gerhart (20) and Darrin Nelson (16).
The Stanford senior running back possesses the second and third best single-season rushing marks in school history. Taylor's sophomore (1,137) and junior (1,330) seasons rank ahead of Gerhart's junior season (1,136) and behind Gerhart's senior season (1,871).
Taylor finished last season with 1,330 yards on 242 carries (5.5) and averaged 102.3 yards per game, which ranked fourth in the Pac-12 and 21st nationally. Taylor is one of six Stanford backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season and just the third back to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons, joining Nelson (1977-78) and Gerhart (2008-09).
Renowned for making defenders miss and for moving his legs forward on contact, Taylor rushed for a string of 58 consecutive rushes without being stopped for a loss this season.
Taylor's 213 offensive yards (153 rushing, 60 receiving) against No. 2 USC was a career high.
A 59-yard touchdown run against USC pushed Taylor past the 3,000-yard career mark. It was also the third-longest carry of his Cardinal career. Taylor's two longest rushing plays also came at Stanford Stadium: 70 yards vs. Washington in 2011 and 62 yards vs. Oregon State in 2010.
Taylor was honored broadly following his game-breaking performances in Stanford's 21-14 win over USC: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, Maxwell Award Player of the Week and CBSSports.com Heisman Player of the Week.
Stanford has five fifth-year seniors on its 2012 roster, including SS Harold Bernard, OLB Alex Debniak, C Sam Schwartzstein, OLB Chase Thomas and P Daniel Zychlinski.
Captains to Lead the Cardinal
Fifth-year senior center Sam Schwartzstein, senior running back Stepfan Taylor and fifth-year senior outside linebacker Chase Thomas have been named tri-captains for the 2012 season, as voted by their teammates.
A fourth game captain each week represents the special teams: fifth-year senior outside linebacker Alex Debniak (San Jose State), junior placekicker Jordan Williamson (Duke), senior inside linebacker Jarek Lancaster (USC) and sophomore wide receiver Ty Montgomery (Washington).
Fresh Faces Time to Shine
The 2012 Stanford signing class that was ranked fifth nationally by Rivals.com and sixth-best by Scout.com has arrived on the Farm as freshmen.
The offensive line class was hailed by some as the greatest in the history of college football. As a whole, the talent level of the class has lived up to expectations this fall.
Ten true freshmen debuted against San Jose State, encompassing all three phases of the game on offense, defense and special teams: Alex Carter, Joshua Garnett, Zach Hoffpauir, Luke Kaumatule, Drew Madhu, Blake Martinez, Reed Miller, Kyle Murphy, Andrus Peat and Kodi Whitfield. The defensive backs (Carter, Hoffpauir, Madhu) and offensive linemen (Garnett, Murphy, Peat) lead the way in this talented freshman class.
By way of comparison, four true freshman saw the field for the Cardinal in 2011. Six played in each of 2010 and 2009. Eight freshmen played in their first year in 2008.
Sixteen additional Stanford players have made their collegiate debut in the first three games of 2012: sophomores Kevin Anderson, Brendon Austin, Lance Callihan, Ronnie Harris, Anthony Hayes, Kevin Hogan, Charlie Hopkins, Ra'Chard Pippens, Jordan Pratt, Torsten Rotto, J.B. Salem, Patrick Skov, Remound Wright and Kelsey Young, plus juniors Dillon Bonnell and Conor McFadden.
Media Picks Stanford Second in Pac-12 North
Stanford was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North Division in a poll of conference media members. The prediction would equal where Stanford finished a year ago when it lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with Oregon.
Stanford received five first-place votes in the North Division, but was picked behind Oregon which received 117. The Ducks amassed 732 points to 533 for Stanford. Washington was picked third in the division with 503 points, followed by California (382), Washington State (228) and Oregon State (205).
USC was tabbed to win the Pac-12 South and received 117 of 120 first-place votes. The Trojans were also tabbed to win the Pac-12 Championship Game, receiving 102 of 123 votes.
The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 28 of 51 previous polls, including 11 of the last 12. Historically, the media has not been great at selecting Stanford's outcome, although it did correctly slot Stanford second in 2011.
On the season of Stanford's most recent Rose Bowl appearance (1999), the Cardinal was picked to finish eighth. In the 51 years of the conference media poll, Stanford has never been picked first, but has played in three Rose Bowls during that span.
Stanford welcomes two new coaches to its staff in 2012, with Pete Alamar taking over the role as special teams coordinator and David Kotulski assuming the duties of inside linebackers coach.
Alamar served as special teams coordinator for the past two seasons at Fresno State and also spent seven seasons (2003-09) in the same capacity at California.
Running backs coach Mike Sanford has taken on additional responsibilities as recruiting coordinator.
In the Classroom
Stanford's football program received an Academic Progress Rating (APR) of 977 last spring, which was the highest rating in the Pac-12 Conference and a figure that ranked 13th nationally among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions.
Stanford had 65 players card a grade point average of 3.0 or better last spring quarter.
Stanford University requires its students to declare an undergraduate major before starting their junior year. Among the team's juniors and seniors, 18 different majors are represented. Fifteen Cardinal upperclassmen are engineering majors. Majors with three or more Cardinal scholar-athletes: biomechanical engineering, economics, management science & engineering, political science, psychology, and science, technology & society.
Cardinal Playbooks Go Digital
Stanford ushered in a new era with iPad playbooks for the 2012 season. With the start of the Cardinal's fall training camp, each Stanford player and coach received an iPad outfitted with a digital playbook powered by Denver-based partner PlayerLync.
Five professional teams in the NFL are currently equipped through the same partnership, and Stanford is proud to be the first in college football to take this leap forward in operational efficiency, cost reduction and environmental responsibility.
The voluminous paper playbooks which consumed trees, money and countless man-hours of production are now a thing of the past for Stanford. The training camp playbook, weekly game playbooks and daily notes are now all immediately published from the coaching staff to the players via unattended content synchronization, ensuring that Stanford's players have all the right information as soon as it is available. Documents and video are automatically pushed to each team member's iPad without their involvement.
Stanford and the NFL
The Cardinal coaching staff from top to bottom was molded in the National Football League:
David Shaw Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football / Head Coach (9 years) Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens
Derek Mason Associate Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs (3 years) Minnesota Vikings
Pep Hamilton Andrew Luck Director of Offense / Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks (10 years) Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears
Mike Bloomgren Running Game Coordinator / Offensive Line (4 years): New York Jets
Aaron Moorehead Offensive Assistant (5 years playing) Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI Champion)
Ron Lynn Director of Player Development (19 years) San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
Mike Gleeson Video Director (8 years) New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan Devlin Assistant Director of Operations & Recruiting (2 years) Arizona Cardinals
Defensive Assistant Vavae Tata and Volunteer Assistant Harry Alderson participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship for a summer with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.
Numerous current Cardinal players have NFL bloodlines:
Freshman CB Alex Carter's father Tom Carter played for the Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals (1993-2001).
Freshman OT Nick Davidson's father Jeff Davidson played for the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints (1990-94) and grandfather Jim Davidson played for the Miami Dolphins (1966-67).
Freshman OLB Noor Davis' father Chris Davis played for the New York Giants (1987), and his uncle Andre Tippet played for the New England Patriots (1982-93) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Junior WR John Flacco's brother Joe Flacco is the Baltimore Ravens' starting QB.
Freshman OG Joshua Garnett's father Scott Garnett played for the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills (1984-85, `87).
Freshman WR Dontonio Jordan's uncle James Rouse played for the Chicago Bears (1990-91).
Sophomore CB Wayne Lyons' cousin Frank Sanders played for the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens (1995-2003).
Sophomore OT/OG Brian Moran's father Matt Moran played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1986).
Freshman FS Josiah Paye's brother John Paye played for the San Francisco 49ers (1987-88).
Freshman OT Andrus Peat's father Todd Peat played for the St. Louis / Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles Raiders (1987-90, `92-'93).
Sophomore C Kevin Reihner's father George Reihner played for the Houston Oilers (1977-79, `82).
Junior FS Ed Reynolds' father Ed Reynolds played for the New England Patriots and New York Giants (1983-92).
Freshman RB Barry Sanders' father Barry Sanders played for the Detroit Lions (1989-98) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Junior RB Ricky Seale's father Sam Seale played for the Los Angeles Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams (1984-93).
Senior TE Levine Toilolo's three uncles played in the NFL: Dan Saleaumua for the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks (1987-98); Edwin Mulitalo for the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions (1999-2008); and Joe Salave'a for the Tennessee Oilers/Titans, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins (1998-2001, 2003-06).
Sophomore ILB James Vaughters' cousin Oliver (Jay) Johnson played for the Philadelphia Eagles (1969-70).
Freshman WR Kodi Whitfield's father Bob Whitfield played for the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants (1992-2006).