Three Bridge Sports » Andrew Skaggs http://www.threebridgesports.com Bay Area Sports: All Day, Every Day Wed, 09 Oct 2013 02:08:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 #15 Washington at #5 Stanford Preview http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/10/03/15-washington-at-5-stanford-preview/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/10/03/15-washington-at-5-stanford-preview/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 12:00:54 +0000 Jim Turvey http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=930 6323351506_c0b036ccf3_z

(Photo Courtesy of brianc)
The Cardinal plays host to #15 Washington who derailed their season last year. Can they get revenge?

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

When: Saturday, October 5th 7:30 pm PT

Where: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA

 

As I outlined in Tuesday’s article “The Season Starts Now”, Stanford football is entering the pivotal stretch of their 2013 season. Saturday’s matchup features two undefeated, top-15 teams in Stanford and Washington. Last year, it was the Huskies that derailed the Cardinal’s undefeated season in Seattle by the score of 17-13. Revenge will certainly be on the mind for Stanford, as Washington has much more on the line this year, including Rose Bowl aspirations. The winner of this game establishes themselves as the second best team in the Pac-12 North and allows them to keep pace with No. 2 Oregon.

 

When Washington has the ball

Washington’s offense under senior QB Keith Price is operating as efficiently as it has in years. The Huskies rank 5th in the NCAA in total yards, averaging 574 per game. Price seems to be putting it all together this season as he is completing 72.3 % of his passes to go along with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. Washington RB Bishop Sankey has rushed for 607 yards in just four games, providing balance to a potent Huskies offense. Defensively, Stanford is a veteran unit that has a lot of big-game experience. Led by LB Shayne Skov and S Ed Reynolds, the Cardinal are allowing 19.5 points per game. This Stanford defense has a history of performing well in important games, something they will look to continue on Saturday. In last season’s matchup, Stanford allowed just 17 points, but only scored 13 on offense.

Edge: Push

 

When Stanford has the ball

Despite averaging less passing and rushing yards per game than Washington, Stanford is averaging 41.3 points per game, good for 24th nationally. QB Kevin Hogan is coming off his best game of the season against Washington St., throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns. This game may have helped prove to critics that the Cardinal can win via the pass or the run. When it comes to the run, Stanford still performs at a high level, led by RB Tyler Gaffney who is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Washington’s defense is playing at high level this season, allowing just 10.8 points per game. Facing Stanford’s offense will present a challenge unlike any they have faced thus far. If the Huskies can stop the run and pressure Hogan into mistakes, they will have a good shot in this game.

Edge: Stanford

 

Bottom Line

Both teams are riding high at 4-0 entering this matchup, one that looks to be one of the best of the weekend. Washington was able to shut down Stanford’s offense last season in an impressive defensive performance. With the experience and talent on both sides of the ball, this game should be fun to watch. Whichever offense has the best game plan will come out on top in this one.

Prediction: Stanford 35 Washington 21

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The Season Starts Now: Stanford Football http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/10/01/the-season-starts-now-stanford-football/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/10/01/the-season-starts-now-stanford-football/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 18:47:00 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=902 Stanford Football

(Photo Courtesy of Daniel Hartwig)

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

Stanford has steamrolled through its first four opponents by the tune of 165-78. The win over No. 22 Arizona State was nice and all, but for the most part an undefeated first month was the expectation for the No. 5 team in the country. While the Cardinal took care of business in September, the way they handle October and the first week of November will determine the fate of their football team. Will they become a major player in the National Championship race? Will they lose one game and “settle” for another BCS Bowl appearance? Or will they collapse like we haven’t seen before and fall back in the competitive Pac-12 North? On the morning of Friday, November 8th, we should have a pretty good idea about all of this.

Stanford’s next 5 opponents:

Saturday, October 5th vs. #15 Washington

Saturday, October 12th @ Utah

Saturday, October 19th vs. #12 UCLA

Saturday, October 26th @ Oregon State

Thursday, November 7th vs. #2 Oregon

The gauntlet begins this weekend in Palo Alto as Stanford hosts the 15th-ranked team in the country in Washington. I will have an in-depth preview of this game on Thursday, so I won’t go into detail about this matchup until then. Stay tuned.

Trap Games

Wedged in between Stanford’s three home games against top-15 opponents are a pair of “trap games” that could present problems for the Cardinal. If Stanford can get past Washington on Saturday, they travel to Utah with a potential top-10 matchup looming just a week later against UCLA in Palo Alto. If you looked up “trap game” in the sports dictionary this there would be a picture of this 5-game stretch for Stanford. Utah is 3-1 with impressive victories over in-state rivals Utah State (lost by 3 at USC) and BYU (beat Texas 40-21). The fact that the game is in Utah is no joke either, as the altitude is always a factor and the Utes are known to have a raucous crowd (albeit a sober raucous crowd).

Coincidentally, Utah’s only loss of the season came at the hands of Oregon St., the other “trap game” on Stanford’s schedule. This time Stanford travels to Corvallis after hosting UCLA a week prior and just 11 days before the “Game of the Year” in the Pac-12 where Stanford hosts Oregon in a primetime Thursday night game. The Beavers entered the season ranked in the top-25 only to lose to FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington on opening weekend. Oregon St. QB Sean Mannion is averaging 403.6 passing yards per game to go along with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions. While both Utah and Oregon St. don’t matchup to Stanford in terms of talent and coaching, the location of these games as well as the timing in between big games could present a problem for the Cardinal.

Big Games

The October 19th matchup against UCLA will more than likely feature two top-10 teams and have major implications on the Pac-12 title race as well as BCS Bowl implications. The Bruins travel to Utah this Thursday before hosting Cal next weekend. Two wins would put them at 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in Pac-12 play, including an impressive victory at Nebraska on September 14th. The Cardinal and the Bruins both feature impressive sophomore quarterbacks in Kevin Hogan and Brett Hundley. This matchup has turned into the premiere matchup between Northern California and Southern California as Cal and USC are going through rebuilding stages.

A win for the Bruins would almost assure them of representing the Pac-12 South in the conference championship and establish them as a serious contender in the BCS National Championship hunt. A win for Stanford would allow them to keep pace with Oregon in the Pac-12 North and assure that theirmatchup against the Ducks would feature two top-5 teams and have HUGE BCS implications.

Speaking of the Ducks, they travel to Palo Alto on November 7th for a Thursday night matchup with the Cardinal. This winner of this game has determined who represents the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl in each of the last three seasons. Stanford derailed Oregon’s National Championship dreams last season, so revenge will certainly be on the minds of the Ducks and their fans. In a matchup of contrasting styles, Oregon likes to push the tempo and score a ton of points while Stanford plays a slower pace predicated on a power run game and stout defense. The winner of this game will almost certainly win the Pac-12 North and most likely get a chance to play in the BCS National Championship barring a setback.

The season starts now for Stanford football as the next five weeks will determine the fate of the season. Strap in your seatbelts for some great Pac-12 football in October and November.

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Stanford at Washington State Preview http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/27/stanford-at-washington-state-preview/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/27/stanford-at-washington-state-preview/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:11:50 +0000 Jim Turvey http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=872 6323351506_c0b036ccf3_z

(Photo Courtesy of brianc)
Stanford travels to Washington St. this weekend, and hopes to keep rolling

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

When: Saturday September 28, 7 pm Pacific Time Where: Century Link Stadium

 

Another Saturday, another win for the Stanford Cardinal. Going into last weekend’s top-25 matchup against Arizona St., I thought the game might be competitive because the Sun Devils have looked good this season. I forgot how good Stanford is at playing football. The Cardinal led 29-0 at halftime before cruising to a 42-28 victory.

 

This weekend Stanford travels to Seattle to face a Washington St. team that is trending in the right direction this season. The Cougars lost their opening game of the season on the road at Auburn, but have rebounded with three consecutive wins, including at USC in week 2. Washington St. QB Connor Halliday is fifth in the country in passing yards but has thrown eight interceptions through four games.

Stanford has maintained great balance on offense, totaling 563 yards passing and 634 rushing yards on the season. QB Kevin Hogan still hasn’t lost a game as a starter, and RB Tyler Gaffney is averaging over 100 yards a game on the ground. Despite giving up 28 second-half points against Arizona St., the Cardinal defense is allowing just 20.3 points per game.

Washington St. may have the offense to put up some points, but this game shouldn’t be very close. Stanford is more talented and better coached up and down the field. Don’t expect a USC-like upset for Washington State this weekend.

 

Prediction: Stanford 49 Washington State 14

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Who Has The Edge: Pac-12 vs. SEC http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/25/who-has-the-edge-pac-12-vs-sec/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/25/who-has-the-edge-pac-12-vs-sec/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 17:34:29 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=848 David ShawSaban_

(Photos Courtesy of RammaJammaYellaHamma)

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

The SEC is widely regarded as the best college football conference in the country, for good reason too. The last seven BCS National Champions have hailed from the Southeastern Conference. Until someone dethrones this giant, it will be hard to argue against, but the Pac-12 has compiled quite the argument in the 2013 season thus far. While the SEC has seven teams in the AP Top-25 compared to just four for the Pac-12, the depth in the Pac-12 this season is unparalleled across the country. Here is a look at how the top teams in each conference stack up against each other.

No. 1 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 2 Oregon (Pac-12)

It’s the matchup college football fans have been clamoring for since both programs returned to prominence in 2008. It’s smash-mouth defense against the “blur” offense. It’s the historic powerhouse against the new kids on the block. While Alabama typically has a better reputation on defense than the Ducks, that may not be the case this season. Nick Saban’s defense was carved up by Johnny Football and Texas A&M to the tune of 42 points and 628 total yards (the most since Alabama started playing football in 1892). Yikes. It could be argued that Oregon’s offense is even more explosive and talented than A&M’s. Currently the top two teams in both polls, if this matchup played out in the BCS National Championship, it would be an absolute treat for college football fans.

Edge: Oregon

No. 5 Stanford (Pac-12) vs. No. 6 LSU (SEC)

For football purists, this is a dream matchup between two teams that bring the hammer on defense while pounding the run game on offense. Stanford and LSU are eerily similar in the way their football teams are made up. Both have “game managing” quarterbacks who make defense pay when they stack the box against the run. Both have elite offensive lines capable of mauling opposing defenses. Both have stars on the defensive side of the ball that fit their respective schemes to perfection. It wouldn’t necessarily be the highest-scoring game, but it sure would be fun to watch. This matchup could easily play out as a BCS bowl or even a National Championship game if both teams upset the aforementioned Bama and Oregon.

Edge: Stanford

No. 10 Texas A&M (SEC) vs. No. 13 UCLA (Pac-12)

This matchup features two super sophomore quarterbacks in Johnny F***ing Football (the only way to properly call him because he is that spectacular) and Brett Hundley. This game would be an absolute track meet considering both teams average over 50 points per game on the season. UCLA’s defense has looked pretty strong in 2013, allowing under 20 points per game, while A&M’s defense has been one of the worst units in the country. Whoever has the ball last wins this game plain and simple.

Edge: Texas A&M

No. 9 Georgia (SEC) vs. No. 16 Washington (Pac-12)

A matchup of the Dawgs pits Washington against Georgia. Both teams feature senior quarterbacks that are looking to get over the hump of past failures in big games. Georgia has already lost once, to No. 3 Clemson, but should still be on track to win the SEC East. Washington is undefeated through three games, including an opening weekend win against Boise State. Georgia’s defense has been tasked with replacing a lot of NFL departures from last season while Washington’s recent recruiting prowess has the Dawgs defense as good as it has been in awhile. The winner of this game would come down to QB Aaron Murray (Georgia) vs. QB Keith Price (Washington).

Edge: Georgia

I gave the edge to the top two Pac-12 teams in Oregon and Stanford while the SEC took home the second two matchups in these simulated games. The SEC has three other ranked teams in South Carolina, Florida, and Ole Miss, but the drop-off in depth is considerable. The rest of the Pac-12 features a 2-1 Arizona St. team that has a win over Wisconsin, as well as Arizona, Oregon State, Utah, and USC who have had strong pre-seasons. I am not ready to crown the Pac-12 over the SEC just yet, but if the BCS National Championship game features teams from these two conferences, it could be a whole new story come January.

 

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Let The Fun Begin: ASU at Stanford Preview http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/20/let-the-fun-begin-asu-at-stanford-preview/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/20/let-the-fun-begin-asu-at-stanford-preview/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 15:32:30 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=754 Stanford Offense__Brian Cantoni

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Cantoni)
Stanford will face its toughest test yet with a proven ASU squad.

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

Stanford’s unblemished 2013 record is a nice way to start the season, but this weekend in Palo Alto the fun gets started against 23rd-ranked Arizona State. In the Pac-12 opener for both teams, this game is the only matchup that features top-25 teams this weekend. Arizona St. is coming off an impressive comeback victory over No. 24 Wisconsin last weekend in Tempe. Stanford hasn’t had trouble in their first two contests of the season, defeating San Jose State and Army by double-digits. With Arizona St. looking like a potential contender in the Pac-12 South, Stanford will need to bring their A-game to start the Pac-12 season with a bang.

When Stanford has the ball

Stanford has stuck to the blueprint of running the ball to set up the pass through its first two games. They have gained 197 yards rushing in each of these two games, while QB Kevin Hogan sports a nice 5-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Running won’t come easy against this Sun Devil defense led by All-American DT Will Sutton. Arizona St. ranks 20th in the country, allowing just 15.5 points per game this season. One encouraging note for the Cardinal can be found in last weekend’s matchup between Arizona St. and Wisconsin. The Badgers employ a very similar playing style and Wisconsin rushed for 231 yards against the Arizona St. defense.

Edge: Push

When Arizona St. has the ball

Arizona St. QB Taylor Kelly has thrown for over 300 yards in each of the Sun Devils’ first two games. As a whole, Arizona St.’s offense ranks 20th in the country in scoring at 43.5 points per game. Stanford allows just 16.5 points per game, led by LB Shayne Skov and DE Ben Gardner. Arizona St. will have to deal with the angry confines of a Pac-12 road game, something they haven’t experienced yet this season.

Edge: Stanford

 

Bottom Line

Stanford is expected to win this game, but Arizona St. proved last week that they are a force to be reckoned with in 2013. If the Sun Devils can slow the Cardinal rushing attack and force Kevin Hogan to air it out, this game should be highly competitive. The winner of this game will have a lot of momentum heading into the Pac-12 season.

Prediction: Stanford 24 Arizona State 21

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Jared Goff Is Here To Stay http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/18/jared-goff-is-here-to-stay/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/18/jared-goff-is-here-to-stay/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:47:48 +0000 Jim Turvey http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=725 3324503611_3d1e3d7022_z

(Photo Courtesy of John-Morgan)
Cal fans will be filling the stands to watch Jared Goff and Sonny Dykes do their thing for the next couple seasons

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

 

Cal football may be just 1-2 and coming off an 18-point home loss to Ohio State, but not all is negative in Berkley this fall. Cal’s offense is putting up 33.7 points per game behind the golden arm of true freshman QB Jared Goff. Goff leads the country in passing yards, a pretty remarkable feat considering he is less than 10 months removed from facing the vaunted defenses of the Marin County Athletic League (sarcasm very much intended).

While the argument could be made that first-year Head Coach Sonny Dykes could make anyone look good statistically in his up-tempo offense, Goff has flashed a lot of moxie that doesn’t show up in the box score. After Ohio State scored 21 points in the first six minutes of Saturday’s game, it would have been easy for the Bears to mail it in and move onto their week 4 matchup at Oregon. It appears however that Goff and Dykes don’t subscribe to that method of thinking. The Bears responded with two touchdown drives before the first quarter ended, both ending in Goff throwing touchdowns. While the margin never got closer than the 10-point deficit Cal faced after the first frame, the Bears continued to fight their way to a 52-34 loss at the hands of the nation’s 4th-ranked football team.

Goff finished the game completing 58.4% of his passes for 371 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. While it was his lowest completion percentage and yardage total of the year thus far, those numbers are far from disappointing considering the talent of the opponent and the magnitude of the football game. Goff has shown a competitive edge and fire that has kept all three of the Bears’ games this season close for the most part. This is an important step for a Cal team that went 3-9 last season, including four losses of 20 points or more. The winning might not come early in the careers of Goff and Dykes, but this first season will certainly be the building block as Cal tries to return to national prominence the way Aaron Rodgers and DeSean Jackson once had.

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Proving Week in the Pac-12 http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/12/proving-week-in-the-pac-12/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/12/proving-week-in-the-pac-12/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:37:48 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=634 Urban_ Ohio State Engineering

(Photo Courtesy of Ohio State Engineering)
The Cal Bears welcome Urban Meyer and #4 ranked OSU into town on Saturday.

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

Week 3 of the college football season is upon us and it could prove to be a pivotal weekend for the reputation of the Pac-12 conference. Six Pac-12 teams play BCS conference opponents this week (BCS Conferences consist of the ACC, AAC, Big 12, Big 10, and the SEC). Here is a breakdown of five of those matchups and the implications they could have on the rest of the season.

The Underdogs 

No. 4 Ohio State at California – 4pm Pacific Time

The Bears welcome the 4th-ranked team in the country to Memorial Stadium this weekend. Ohio State was one of the preseason favorites to make the National Championship this season and will be a tall task for a young Cal football team. Led by Head Coach Urban Meyer and Heisman hopeful QB Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes have an explosive offense predicated on the dual-threat abilities of Miller. Cal has an explosive offense of their own, led by true freshman QB Jared Goff, who has thrown for 935 yards through two games this season. Simply keeping this game competitive would be a great showing for Cal and the Pac-12.

No. 20 Wisconsin at Arizona State – 7:30pm Pacific Time

One of the better non-conference games of the weekend pits perennial Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin against upstart Arizona State. Neither team has given up a point on defense this season, albeit against cupcake opponents. The Sun Devils defense, led by All-American DT Will Sutton, will be tasked with stopping a powerful Wisconsin running game that features two backs that have over 250 yards apiece in just two games. Unlike Cal, Arizona State has a pretty good shot at pulling an upset over a Big Ten foe. A win would likely bolt the Sun Devils into the Top-25 and give the conference a nice reputation boost over the Big Ten.

The Favorites

No. 16 UCLA at No. 23 Nebraska – 9am Pacific Time

The second-best game of the weekend features two Top-25 teams, another Pac-12 vs. Big Ten matchup. UCLA has had two weeks to prepare for the one-two punch of QB Taylor Martinez and RB Ameer Abdullah for Nebraska. UCLA is led by redshirt Sophomore QB Brett Hundley, who accounted for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Bruins’ opening week victory over Nevada. The winner of this game will get a significant boost in the rankings, probably near the Top-10. As the theme of week 3 goes, the Pac-12 and Big Ten will test their reputations against each other.

Tennessee at No. 3 Oregon – 12:30pm Pacific Time

The Ducks welcome an SEC opponent into Autzen Stadium in a game that they are favored by 27.5 points. Tennessee is led by first-year head coach Butch Jones and face a murderer’s row of five ranked opponents in their next six games. Oregon has scored over 59 points in each of their two games this season. QB Marcus Mariota and RB De’Anthony Thomas have each run for over 200 yards in the Ducks’ explosive offense. This game might be competitive in the first half, but Tennessee should be no match for Oregon at home. Wins against the SEC always bolster a conference’s reputation, regardless of the opponent.

No. 19 Washington at Illinois – 3pm Pacific Time

The last of the Pac-12/Big Ten matchups features the Huskies versus the Fighting Illini. Washington jumped into the Top-25 after an impressive season-opening win over Boise State. Illinois is typically among the bottom tier of the Big Ten, but are coming off a big win against Cincinnati last week. Washington has more talent on both sides of the ball, but a road game in the Big Ten is no easy task. If they want to prove themselves as a legit Top-20 team, they can’t lose this game to Illinois.

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Stanford Football: The Emergence of the Deep Ball http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/10/stanford-football-the-emergence-of-the-deep-ball/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/10/stanford-football-the-emergence-of-the-deep-ball/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2013 15:10:18 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=617 Stanford Offense__Brian Cantoni

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Cantoni)
The deep ball could help open up the Cardinal’s prolific run game.

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

One of the big question marks for Stanford football entering the 2013 season was whether a deep threat would emerge for Sophomore QB Kevin Hogan. On the fifth offensive play of Stanford’s 34-13 win over San Jose State on Saturday, that question might have been answered. Hogan hit 6’4” Junior Devon Cajuste down the left seam for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Cardinal an early 7-0 lead.

Last season Hogan completed just two passes of over 40 yards in his six starts after replacing Josh Nunes. Saturday against San Jose State, Hogan matched that total with completions of 40 and 42 yards, to Cajuste and Ty Montgomery respectively. With the way the Cardinal have established the run over the past five years, an emergence of the deep ball could add another element to an already scary-good Stanford team.

Despite throwing for just 207 yards and averaging 7.67 yards per attempt, Hogan completed five different passes of over 15 yards against the Spartans. The beneficiary of all five of these completions were the aforementioned Cajuste and Montgomery. Both these receivers stand at 6’2” or taller and flashed the ability to get behind the defense in the season’s opening game.

The Cardinal will remain a run-first football team, evidenced by their 41-to-27 run to pass ratio on Saturday, but the deep ball could be a very valuable weapon to ensure that Stanford doesn’t become one dimensional. It only takes a couple deep passes off of play-action to keep the defenses’ honest and prevent them from loading the box against the run. If Montgomery and Cajuste can continue to stretch the field on the outside, the Cardinal can be very dangerous offensively to complement their already stout defense.

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San Jose State vs. Stanford Preview http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/06/san-jose-state-vs-stanford-preview/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/06/san-jose-state-vs-stanford-preview/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 17:33:27 +0000 Jim Turvey http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=563 Stanford Offense__Brian Cantoni

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Cantoni)
Stanford football starts this weekend with a test from San Jose St

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

When: Saturday, September 7th, 7pm Pacific Time

Where: Stanford Stadium

 

The Stanford Cardinal open up the season against Bay Area foe San Jose State in the 67th annual Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Stanford comes into the game as a 20-point favorite but the Spartans are certainly no pushover. San Jose State finished the 2012 season ranked 24th nationally in the BCS standings after an 11-2 season in the WAC. The Spartans are a brand new member of the Mountain West Conference as they welcome new head coach Rod Caragher. This game will be the season opener for the Cardinal, while the Spartans beat Sacramento St. 24-0 last week.

 

When Stanford has the ball

Stanford ranked 39th in the country in rushing last season and return one of the top offensive lines in the country. RB Stepfan Taylor graduated but the Cardinal have plenty of young backs that can replace his production. QB Kevin Hogan will look to build off his impressive freshman season that saw him go 5-0, including a Rose Bowl victory. Defensively, San Jose State ranked 7th in the country in sacks last season and will look to apply a ton of pressure on Hogan. The Spartans return both of their starting defensive tackles, a duo that combined for 23.5 tackles for a loss last season. This strong interior presence will be very important when facing the power running game of Stanford.

Edge: Stanford

 

When San Jose State has the ball

The Spartans return Heisman Watch List QB David Fales to an offense that ranked 10th in the country in passing yards in 2012. Last season, Fales completed 72.5% of his passes for 4,193 yards and 33 touchdowns. Fales is joined in the backfield by first-time starter, RB Jason Simpson, who rushed for 135 yards and a score last week.

Stanford ranked 20th nationally in total defense last season and return a trio of talented linebackers. Stanford’s defense is accustomed to facing high-powered offenses as evidenced by their success against Oregon the past couple seasons.

Edge: Stanford

 

Bottom Line

Considering the Cardinal are ranked 5th in the AP Poll, this game shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. That being said, San Jose State is a team that is led by a talented senior QB and will be very motivated to pull an upset against their in-state rivals. Whichever team dominates the line of scrimmage will have the edge in this contest.

Prediction: Stanford 35 San Jose State 21

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What We Learned About The Pac-12 http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/04/what-we-learned-about-the-pac-12/ http://www.threebridgesports.com/2013/09/04/what-we-learned-about-the-pac-12/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2013 15:26:40 +0000 James http://www.threebridgesports.com/?p=538 (Photo Courtesy of Neon Tommy)

(Photo Courtesy of Neon Tommy)
Will Max Wittek make Trojan fans forget about Matt Barkley?

by Andrew Skaggs

 

 

Cal’s offense under Sonny Dykes is going to be fun to watch

The Golden Bears ran a whopping 99 offensive plays in their opening game against 19th-ranked Northwestern. 99 plays! To put that into perspective, Arizona ran just 47 offensive plays against Northern Arizona. Coach Sonny Dykes certainly had faith in true freshman Jared Goff in his first career start. Goff completed 38 of 63 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns along with three interceptions. While it was an up and down game for Goff, the Bears were down just seven points with five minutes to play against a ranked opponent. Cal might not win a ton of games this season, but the offense will be must watch TV week in and week out.

USC’s two-quarterback plan could get messy

The Trojans went into their Thursday night contest against Hawaii with a plan to play both of their young quarterbacks. They left the game wondering if Matt Barkley was walking back though the door on the USC campus. Redshirt sophomore Cody Kessler started the game and played the entire first half before being replaced by fellow redshirt sophomore Max Wittek. The two quarterbacks combined to complete 52% of their passes for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The game was never in question but neither quarterback established himself as the main guy for the Trojans. Kessler is slated to start again in week 2, but this dual-quarterback plan could backfire in a big way for USC.

The chase for the Pac-12 title could be more than a two-horse race

Stanford and Oregon have stolen a majority of the headlines heading into the season, but UCLA and Washington could be factors in determining who gets the Pac-12’s bid for the Rose Bowl. Washington used a big second half to dominate 19th-ranked Boise State in Seattle. Quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey combined for 500 total yards to lead what appears to be a very balanced Huskies offense. UCLA also had no problems with a Mountain West foe, running all over Nevada 58-20. Redshirt sophomore QB Brett Hundley accounted for 300 total yards and four touchdowns for the Bruins. Stanford and Oregon are definitely still the favorites in the Pac-12, but the Bruins and Huskies could be dark horses in race for roses.

Colorado won a game!

The Buffs have officially matched their win total from last season with a 41-27 win over in-state rival Colorado State. In the all-important race to finish above last place in the Pac-12, Colorado got off on the right foot. Fellow Three Bridge Sports writer Colin Carmody says I never give any love to the Buffs, so here you go Colin.

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