Oct. 15, 2012
No. 22/23 Stanford Cardinal (4-2 2-1 Pac-12)
California Golden Bears (3-4 2-2 Pac-12)
October 20, 2012 Noon (PT)
California Memorial Stadium (63,186) Berkeley, 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.
Tickets Available for purchase by Stanford affiliates (season ticket holders, alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff). Tickets are $65 each and can be ordered by phone at 1-800-STANFORD or at the Stanford Athletics Ticket Office.
Polls Stanford (22nd - AP, 23rd - USA Today) California (NR - AP, NR - USA Today)
On the Web GoStanford.com CalBears.com Pac-12.com
Inside the Huddle
The Cardinal resumes its conference schedule Saturday with the 115th edition of the Big Game against Cal, the first of six straight Pac-12 contests to close the 2012 regular season. The Oct. 20 meeting of Stanford and Cal is the earliest in the history of the series.
Stanford lost last week at No. 7 Notre Dame, 20-13, in overtime. The Cardinal has bounced back with victories after each of its last seven 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).
This is the second straight season Stanford comes fresh off a defeat to play Cal. The Cardinal last year lost to Oregon the week before playing the 114th Big Game, a 31-28 victory over Cal.
Saturday will mark Stanford's first game played in the newly renovated Memorial Stadium, which opened for the start of the 2012 season after a $321 million project to upgrade the facility's standards and reduce its seismic risk.
Saturday's matchup will feature the Pac-12's No. 2 rushing defense of Stanford (89.5 yards per game) against the No. 3 rushing offense of Cal (195.0).
Stanford comes into the game ranked No. 22/23 in the nation while Cal is unranked. This is the seventh time in the last 12 editions of the Big Game that one team is ranked, and the only upset in those games came with Cal's 34-28 upending of No. 14 Stanford in 2009.
Senior RB Stepfan Taylor rushed for 102 yards on 28 carries at Notre Dame and could overtake several legends in the Stanford record books with a solid outing at Cal. Taylor needs 95 yards to catch Toby Gerhart for second all-time career rushing and needs 18 carries to pass Gerhart (third) and catch Brad Muster for second all-time in career rushes.
The Stanford offense Saturday at Cal will be looking for its first offensive touchdown on the road this season. The defense scored the Cardinal's lone touchdowns at Washington and at Notre Dame. Stanford's current offensive touchdown drought on the road is 126:07, dating back to Tyler Gaffney's score at Oregon State (Nov. 5, 2011).
Stanford owns active winning streaks against nine of its 12 regular season 2012 opponents: San Jose State (W5), Duke (W3), USC (W4), Arizona (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 games to Washington and Notre Dame.
Cal (3-4) is Stanford's first opponent of the season to carry a losing record into the game.
Cal Series Notes
Series: Stanford leads, 57-46-11 (.548)
At Berkeley: Stanford leads, 24-21-6 (.529)
At Stanford: Stanford leads, 28-21-1 (.570)
At San Francisco: Stanford leads, 5-4-4 (.538)
First meeting: 1892 (San Francisco) - Stanford 14, Cal 10
Last meeting: 2011 at Stanford - Stanford 31, Cal 28
Last Cal win: 2009 at Stanford - Stanford 28, Cal 34
Series streak: Stanford - W2 (2010-11)
Longest win streaks: Stanford - 7 (1995-2001), Cal - 5 (1919-23, 2002-06)
Last Matchup Against Cal - Nov. 19, 2011
The eighth-ranked Cardinal started slowly but held on to beat Cal, 31-28, before a sellout crowd of 50,360 at rainy Stanford Stadium.
Stanford led by only one point at halftime, 14-13, on the strength of a 34-yard touchdown run by WR Ty Montgomery and a six-yard scoring run by RB Tyler Gaffney.
Early in the third quarter, quarterback Andrew Luck threw a four-yard scoring pass to TE Levine Toilolo. On its next possession, the Cardinal struck again when Luck hit FB Ryan Hewitt with a 10-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 28-13.
But the Bears fought back in the fourth quarter. Zach Maynard hit TE Spencer Hagan with a three-yard scoring pass and Cal converted a two-point conversion. The Stanford offense chewed up the clock for nearly eight minutes, culminated by a 35-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson. The Bears found the end zone one more time with 14 seconds left, but were unable to recover the ensuing onside kick.
THE LAST MEETING
November 19, 2011
The Axe Stays Home
A big third quarter broke open a tight contest and enabled Stanford to earn a 31-28 victory over Cal in the 114th Big Game on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.
Luck completed 20 of 30 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Hewitt caught seven passes for 64 yards, while tight end Coby Fleener hauled in four catches for 64 yards. Maynard connected on 20 of 29 attempts for 280 yards, with wide receiver Keenan Allen catching nine for 97 yards.
Cal's Isi Sofele rushed for a game-high 96 yards on 21 carries, while Stanford's Stepfan Taylor was held to 45 yards on 17 attempts.
The Cardinal out-gained the Bears in total yardage, 405-365. Both teams finished with 23 first downs.
The victory was the 10th of the season for Stanford, marking the first time in school history it recorded consecutive 10-win seasons.
Big Game History
Beginning with the first game played between the two schools on March 10, 1892, the rivalry between Stanford and California has grown into one of the most colorful in all of college football. Cal is Stanford's oldest rival.
Saturday marks the 115th meeting between Stanford and Cal, which ranks tied for the ninth-longest rivalry in NCAA Division I FBS Football. The Cardinal lead the series, 57-46-11, and has won two in a row and three of the last five games.
Only 52 points separate the teams in this tightly-contested and emotional matchup for The Axe and yearly bragging rights in the Bay Area. Stanford has scored 1,878 points compared to 1,826 points by Cal. Excluding ties, 42 games have been decided by seven points or less.
Stanford owns the longest winning streak, claiming seven consecutive games from 1995-2001. However, Cal rebounded to capture five straight from 2002-2006. The Bears also won five in a row from 1919-1923. The Cardinal also posted a six-game winning streak from 1961-1966.
Stanford has produced nine shutouts in the series, with Cal recording 13, including a three-year stretch from 1936-1938. There was also a 0-0 tie at Cal in 1932.
The highest winning point total is shared by both teams at 48. In 1975, Cal won at Stanford, 48-15. The Cardinal returned the favor in 2010, beating the Bears in Berkeley, 48-14.
An overflow crowd of over 20,000 filled the Haight Street Grounds in San Francisco to witness the first Big Game in 1892. Stanford's team manager, Herbert Hoover, who later to become the 31st President of the United States, printed 10,000 tickets for the 15,000-seat stadium on the corner of Haight and Stanyan Streets. As the crowd continued to fill the stadium, Hoover ran out of tickets and was forced to collect coins at the gate, dispensing the money in empty wash tubs and boxes.
With the team captains from both teams on the field for pregame instructions, referee Jack Sherrard politely asked for the ball to commence the game. However, there was one slight problem - no one had remembered to bring the ball. A fan set off on horseback to retrieve a ball from a nearby sporting goods store and the first Big Game was born. Stanford upset Cal, 14-10, and Hoover and the Cal team manager counted $30,000 receipts from the game - enough to finance the team for next season.
The Big Game has been a series where "anything can happen and usually does." The 1982 game will forever be remembered for one of the most memorable and dramatic endings in college football history, known simply as "The Play".
Stanford had taken a 20-19 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Mark Harmon with just four seconds left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Cal scored the game-winning touchdown on a five-lateral, 57-yard kickoff return, culminating in Cal's Kevin Moen bowling over Gary Tyrell, a trombonist in the Stanford Band.
Stanford's answer to "The Play" occurred in 1990 when the Cardinal scored nine points in the final 12 seconds to pull out an improbable 27-25 victory. Stanford quarterback Jason Palumbis connected with wide receiver Ed McCaffrey on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left, drawing the Cardinal to within one point at 25-24. After Stanford's two-point conversion failed, the Bears celebrated certain victory. However, the Cardinal recovered the onside kick and after Cal was penalized 15-yards on the first play of the drive, Stanford found itself at the Cal 22-yard line. John Hopkins calmly kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Cardinal a 27-25 victory in Berkeley.
It Happened Against Cal
1892 - Before an overflow crowd of 20,000 at the Haigh Street Grounds in San Francisco on March 10, Stanford defeated Cal, 14-10, in the inaugural Big Game. Stanford's manager was Herbert Hoover, who later became the 31st President of the United States.
1932 - Steve Anderson boomed a 75-yard punt, which ranked as the second-longest punt in school history.
1956 - Lou Valli ran for 209 yards on 23 carries in a 20-18 loss in Berkeley. The rushing total still ranks as the fourth-best single game mark in school history.
1959 - Dick Norman completed 34-of-39 passes for 401 yards and one touchdown in a 20-17 loss at Stanford Stadium.
1974 - Mike Langford booted a 50-yard field goal as time expired to lift Stanford to a 22-20 win over Cal in Berkeley. The two teams combined for 29 points in a wild fourth quarter.
1977 - Darrin Nelson rushed for 94 yards to become the sixth freshman in NCAA history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a single season.
1982 - In one of the wildest endings in college football history, Cal defeated Stanford, 25-20, after using five laterals to return a kickoff 57 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Stanford had taken a 20-19 lead on a 35-yard field goal by Mark Harmon with 0:04 left.
1984 - Paced by Brad Muster's 204 yards, Stanford rushed for 322 yards and defeated Cal, 27-10 in Berkeley.
1988 - Tuan Van Le blocked a potential game-winning 20-yard field goal by Robbie Keen with 0:04 left, as Cal and Stanford played to a 19-19 tie.
1989 - With a 3:30 p.m. start, the Big Game finished under the lights for the first time, as Stanford defeated Cal, 24-14, at Stanford Stadium.
1990 - Jon Hopkins kicked a game-winning, 39-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to give Stanford a 27-25 win in Berkeley. Jason Palumbis connected with Ed McCaffrey on a 19-yard TD with 0:12 left to cut Cal's lead to 25-24. Stanford recovered the onside kick on the Cal 37-yard line with 0:09 left in the game. A roughing the passer penalty moved the ball down to the 15-yard line, setting up Hopkins' game-winning field goal. Glyn Milburn finished the game with 196 yards on the ground, which ranked as the ninth-best rushing performance in school history.
1991 - Before a national-television audience on ABC, Tommy Vardell rushed for 182 yards on a school-record 39 carries to lead Stanford to a 38-21 win over Cal before a crowd of 85,500 at Stanford Stadium.
1992 - Stanford defeated Cal, 41-21, to gain a share of the Pac-10 championship.
1999 - Casey Moore broke loose for a 94-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Stanford's 31-13 victory at Stanford Stadium, marking the second longest touchdown run in school history.
2000 - In the first-ever overtime game between the two schools, Randy Fasani connected with Casey Moore on a 25-yard TD pass to lift Stanford to a 36-30 victory in Berkeley.
2010 - Stanford scored on each of its first eight possessions en route to a 48-14 victory in Berkeley. The 48 points were the most ever scored by Stanford in a Big Game.
2011 - Andrew Luck threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford beat California, 31-28, in a rain-soaked Big Game with a rare late start under the lights at Stanford Stadium.
A Look Back at Notre Dame
No. 17 Stanford suffered its second defeat of the season last Saturday during a non-conference matchup at Notre Dame. The Cardinal lost in overtime, 20-13.
For the second time in as many weeks, the outcome of Stanford's contest was determined in overtime. The Cardinal won the overtime coin toss, electing to possess the ball second (as it also did one week prior in a home overtime win against Arizona). Stanford's defense recorded a seven-yard sack by senior OLB Trent Murphy on the first play of overtime but yielded a third-down conversion two plays later. On the next play, Notre Dame threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to take a 20-13 lead.
Senior RB Stepfan Taylor carried the ball the final five plays of overtime, including third-down and fourth-down rushes inside the one-yard line. The game's final play ruled Taylor down short of the goalline, and subsequent review by replay officials did not overturn what was widely regarded as a controversial call.
Stanford leaned heavily on Taylor down the stretch, with either a rush or a reception on 11 of Stanford's last 12 (and 13 of the last 15) offensive plays, spanning the final fourth-quarter offensive series and overtime. Taylor carried 28 times for 102 yards, his 17th career 100-yard rushing game and fourth of this season. Stanford is now 14-3 all-time when Taylor rushes for 100 or more yards in a game.
Stanford scored its lone touchdown on a fumble recovery by fifth-year senior OLB Chase Thomas in the end zone, following a sack and forced fumble by senior DE Ben Gardner. It was the first career touchdown for Thomas and Stanford's third defensive touchdown this season.
Junior K Jordan Williamson added a pair of field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder on the final play of the first half. His previous career best was a 46-yard field goal - also kicked on the final play of the first half - in the season opener versus San Jose State. Williamson had one field goal blocked by Notre Dame from 25 yards in the second quarter.
Stanford led the game with scores of 7-3, 10-3 and 13-10. Notre Dame previously had not trailed this season and was the only team remaining in college football to not trail during a game.
The game was punctuated by defense and turnovers. The first offensive touchdown came in the fourth quarter, while the two teams combined for 10 three-and-outs. Stanford senior QB Josh Nunes was intercepted two times by Notre Dame, while the Cardinal turned the ball over from the Fighting Irish three times on fumbles.
The Cardinal defense recorded six tackles for loss and four sacks, led by senior OLB Trent Murphy (2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks). Freshman CB Alex Carter notched his first career TFL in the first quarter, becoming the 17th Cardinal defender to record a TFL this season. Carter also forced a fumble in the third quarter, a career first.
Stanford reached its offensive nadir during the third quarter, totaling 19 total yards and no first downs.
Stanford was held without an offensive touchdown for the second time this season (Sept. 27 at Washington). Both games were road losses.
The defeat dropped Stanford to 9-18 all-time in the Notre Dame series and snapped a three-game winning streak against the Fighting Irish. The Cardinal for the seventh time (2-5) played at a top-10 Notre Dame team.
Stanford saw its 10-game regular season winning streak against non-conference opponents come to an end. The Cardinal also ended its nine-game winning streak in October games, dating back to Oct. 9, 2010.
Be the First To Know
"Inside Stanford Sports with David Shaw" returns to the airwaves this season on the Cardinal's flagship station KNBR 1050 AM. The one-hour show kicks off once each month at 8:00 p.m. (PT) and will be broadcast live from Gordon Biersch Palo Alto (640 Emerson Street).
The radio show features Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw and several standout Stanford players each month, hosted by current Cardinal radio analyst and former Rose Bowl quarterback Todd Husak. Mark your calendar for all five shows this fall: Monday, Oct. 15 - 8:00 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12 - 8:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 - 8:00 p.m.
Coach Shaw will be joined live this Monday (Oct. 15) by senior FB Ryan Hewitt, senior ILB Jarek Lancaster and senior ILB Shayne Skov for a Big Game edition of Inside Stanford Sports.
Fans in attendance for the radio show at Gordon Biersch will enjoy 10 percent off their purchases, and they can receive Stanford merchandise prizes and giveaways during commercial breaks. One lucky fan in attendance will win two tickets to Saturday's 115th Big Game. Another fan at Gordon Biersch Monday will also win a VIP package for two to the Oct. 27 Washington State game, including premium game tickets, pregame hospitality tent access, hotel and dinner for two in Palo Alto.
Fans unable to make it to the Palo Alto live broadcast can tune their radio to 1050 AM in the Bay Area or visit KNBR.com and click the "1050 AM Listen Live" button.
The Big Game has been played 114 times between Stanford and Cal, tying it for ninth among the most played rivalry games in the FBS division of college football. Here is the list of the nation's most played rivalry contests (before the 2012 season):
1. Minnesota - Wisconsin (121) t5. North Carolina - Virginia (116)
2. Missouri - Kansas (120#) t7. Auburn - Georgia (115)
3. Texas - Texas A&M (118#) t7. Oregon - Oregon State (115)
4. Nebraska - Kansas (117#) t9. Stanford - Cal (114)
t5. Miami (Ohio) - Cincinnati (116) t9. Purdue - Indiana (114)
Conference realignment has torn several rivalry games asunder. With three (#) of the nation's 10 longest rivalry games currently discontinued, The Big Game ranks tied for sixth as the longest-played continuing rivalry game in FBS college football.
Stanford's next-longest rivalry games are against USC (90 games played before 2012), UCLA (82), Washington (82) and Oregon State (79). All four opponents are scheduled indefinitely to play Stanford on an annual basis as part of the current Pac-12 scheduling rotation.
Stanford the past two weeks has been pushed to overtime, splitting decisions against Arizona (W, 54-48) and Notre Dame (L, 20-13). This is the first season in which the Cardinal has played consecutive overtime games and the first time with multiple overtime contests in the same regular season.
The Cardinal has now played beyond regulation in four of its last 12 overall contests. Stanford went three overtime periods before defeating USC (Oct. 28) last year in Los Angeles, 56-48. The Cardinal was edged by Oklahoma State (Jan. 2) in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, 41-38.
Stanford's all-time overtime ledger stands at 4-4. The Cardinal is 3-1 at home, 1-2 away and 0-1 in neutral site overtime games.
Overtime was introduced to college football in 1996. Stanford played four overtime games in the first 15 seasons before a swath of four overtime contests in the past calendar year.
Stanford's first six opponents in 2012 are a combined 24-7 in the remainder of their games. Notre Dame (6-0) is undefeated, and USC (5-1) has only lost to the Cardinal this season, while Duke (5-2) and San Jose State (4-2) have each dropped one other decision. Washington (3-3) and Arizona (3-3) round out the slate. In its most recent games, San Jose State lost to Utah State, 49-27; Duke lost at Virginia Tech, 41-20; USC defeated Washington, 24-14; and Washington lost to USC, 24-14.
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).
Stanford and rival Cal play this week the 115th edition of the Big Game in an unprecedented October setting when the Cardinal travels to Berkeley on Oct. 20. Kickoff has been set for noon (PT). The only other one of the previous 114 Big Games not played in November or December took place on March 19, 1892 -- the rivalry's inaugural.
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 plays host to 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.
A pair of 2012 conference opponents in Arizona and Colorado are off the regular season schedule for Stanford in 2013-14.
Stanford's road schedule will also take the Cardinal to 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 23rd in the USA Today Coaches' poll (Oct. 14).
The Cardinal is ranked 22nd in the Associated Press Top 25 (Oct. 14), marking the 39th 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.
Stanford has compiled a 35-10 (.778) record over the last four seasons, finishing 8-5 in 2009, 12-1 in 2010 and 11-2 last season. The Cardinal's 35 wins rank second only to Oregon's 39 among Pac-12 teams during this stretch, while its .778 winning percentage stands eighth among all FBS teams.
Stanford is one of just seven teams in the nation that has compiled 27 or more wins over the last three seasons along with Oregon (30), LSU (30), Boise State (29), TCU (29), Alabama (28) and Wisconsin (27). The Cardinal's .844 winning percentage since 2010 is sixth-best among FBS teams during that stretch.
The Cardinal has posted a 24-6 record in Pac-12 Conference play over the last four seasons, which ranks second only to Oregon's 28-2 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.
Of Stanford's last 18 wins dating back to the 2010 season, 12 have been by 25 points or more, while its average margin of victory in its last 18 wins has been 23.3 points (419 total).
Stanford's last 35 victories dating back to the 2009 season have come by an average margin of 23.5 points (823 total), while its nine losses have come by a margin of 7.4 points (67 total).
The Cardinal is 12-11 in its last 23 games decided by a touchdown or less.
The Home Record
Stanford is 27-3 (.900) in its last 30 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 39.5 points a game (1,145 total) over its last 29 home games while allowing just 21.9 (636 total).
Stanford's special teams are getting started on the right foot, boasting the Pac-12's top punt return average of 16.4 yards led by senior Drew Terrell. The Cardinal's kickoff coverage team has also cast a tight web with a net of 46.5 yards per kickoff (1st in Pac-12).
Sophomore kickoff returner Ty Montgomery has been used in several spots this season, returning 10 kicks for a 25.8-yard average (3rd in Pac-12). Montgomery brought the opening kickoff against USC back 64 yards.
One of the top running backs in the Pac-12 Conference and a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, senior Stepfan Taylor figures prominently on many of Stanford's career lists in his senior season.
Taylor ranks third on Stanford's all-time career rushing list with 3,427 yards, last month against Duke passing Brad Muster (2,940). Taylor needs 95 yards to catch Toby Gerhart and 606 more to tie Darrin Nelson for first place.
Taylor's 32 career rushing touchdowns are third all-time on The Farm, needing five more to tie Tommy Vardell for second.
Taylor's 3,427 yards career rushing currently ranks sixth among active rushers in the NCAA, and his 668 career carries ranks third.
Taylor's 17 100-yard games rank second on Stanford's all-time career list behind only Toby Gerhart (20). The Cardinal is 14-3 when Taylor reaches the century mark rushing.
Taylors 668 career carries rank fourth all-time at Stanford - just three behind Toby Gerhart (671 - 3rd) and 18 rushes behind Brad Muster (686 - 2nd).
Taylor 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 earlier this season orchestrated a string of 58 consecutive rushes without being stopped for a loss.
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.
Also a creative and prolific producer of videos, Taylor's alter ego "Kulabafi" is a YouTube fascination and has been the source of media attention this season.
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).
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 six quarterback sacks through six games this season (1.00 average), best in the Pac-12 and tied for 16th 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 153.5 yards per game, including a season-high 257 rushing yards against Arizona. 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.
Doing It On Defense
Stanford's rushing defense is ranked No. 7 in the nation, allowing 89.3 yards per game and 2.84 yards per carry. The Cardinal's last three opponents - Arizona, Washington and Notre Dame - each rushed for 100 yards after a string of six games with opponents held below the century mark.
Opponents have scored a total of 13 points through six games against Stanford's defense in first quarters of games this season, while only Washington (seven points), Arizona (15) and Notre Dame (10) has scored against the Cardinal in a fourth quarter.
Stanford defenders have snared eight interceptions this season, led by junior FS Ed Reynolds (three) and sophomore SS Jordan Richards (two). The Cardinal totaled seven interceptions all of 2011.
Jordan Richards ranks 11th in the nation in passes defended at 1.67 per game (eight passes broken up and two interceptions).
The Cardinal defense has allowed only seven 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 26 three-and-out possessions through six games. The Cardinal ranks 22th in the nation in third-down defensive efficiency, allowing a conversion rate of only 33.0 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).
Behind Enemy Lines
Stanford's vaunted 3-4 defense ranks tied for fourth in the NCAA with an average of 8.33 tackles per loss (50 total) for the season. Seventeen different Cardinal players have recorded a tackle for loss in 2012. That breaks down to five defensive linemen (12.5 total TFL), seven linebackers (23.0 total TFL) and five defensive backs (14.5 total TFL).
Four Stanford defenders currently are ranked in the Pac-12's top-20 in tackles for loss: senior OLB Trent Murphy has 1.33 TFL/game (8.0 total), tied for 11th; senior DE Ben Gardner has 1.17 TFL/game (7.0 total), tied for 13th; fifth-year senior OLB Chase Thomas has 1.00 TFL/game (6.0 total), tied for 16th; and senior NB Usua Amanam has 0.92 TFL/game (5.5 total), for 20th.
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 TFL and was honored as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Seven Stanford defenders recorded seven solo tackles for loss at Washington, and nine had tackles for loss against Arizona.
The Cardinal added six TFL at Notre Dame, led by Trent Murphy's 2.5.
Stanford's defense last season finished 11th in the nation in sacks (3.0) and 28th in tackles for loss (6.85).
Numerous Stanford players in the defensive front seven employ the hashtag #partyInTheBackfield on Twitter.
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 38 receptions, 649 yards and four touchdowns in the opening six games of 2012. Ertz and Toilolo are the Cardinal's two leading receivers this season and each were named to the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List (Oct. 15).
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. Against Arizona, he caught a team-high six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Ertz led Stanford's receivers again the next week at Notre Dame with 55 yards on four receptions.
Levine Toilolo caught the two longest receptions of his career both in the Arizona game (42, 46). Toilolo hauled in five total passes for a career-best 141 yards, along with a 12-yard touchdown. The 6-foot-8 target not only was tough to defend, but he also picked up yardage impressively after catches.
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 touchdown 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).
Captains to Lead the Cardinal
Fifth-year senior C Sam Schwartzstein, senior RB Stepfan Taylor and fifth-year senior OLB 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 OLB Alex Debniak (San Jose State and Notre Dame), junior K Jordan Williamson (Duke), senior ILB Jarek Lancaster (USC), sophomore WR Ty Montgomery (Washington), and sophomore NB Ronnie Harris (Arizona).
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.
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.
Eleven true freshmen have made their debuts this season, 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, Aziz Shittu 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.
Eight of the 11 true freshmen playing this season are starters on at least one special teams unit. Five of those freshmen are multiple-unit starters, including Alex Carter, Drew Madhu and Blake Martinez as three-unit special teams starters.
Sixteen additional Stanford players have made their collegiate debut in 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 Stadium Becomes Wireless Leader
For the past two seasons, Stanford has taken a bold leadership position with in-venue technology, working with AT&T to build a free public Wi-Fi network in operation at Stanford Stadium since the beginning of the 2011 season. Stanford is working to have the first stadium in college or pro football to aggressively resolve the increasing problem of in-venue mobile connectivity for today's fans.
To get started, fans simply turn on their Wi-Fi under settings and connect to "attwifi" inside Stanford Stadium. The free public Wi-Fi network is also available at eight additional venues throughout Stanford Athletics.
Stanford has also developed a web-based application to uniquely enhance the game day experience for fans. Stanford GameDay Live! provides access to video highlights, live statistics and more throughout the game. Fans connected to the "attwifi" network in Stanford Stadium can visit StanfordGDL.com for a rich mobile augmentation to their Cardinal game day experience.
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).