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White beats Cardinal in Stanford Football spring game

Posted by davefowkes on 04/14/2009

It took a little while for the teams to kick it into gear, but when they did it was Andrew Luck leading the White team to a 42-17 win over the Cardinal team in the annual spring football game for Stanford. The red-shirt freshman put on quite a show under the lights at Stanford stadium in front of several hundred Cardinal fans as he tries to earn the starting job this fall. By my very unofficial tally, Luck was 19/26 for 383 yards and five touchdown passes.

Luck and returning starter Tavita Pritchard are competing for the starting job this fall. Pritchard played okay going 14/28 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. His night would have looked better had he not had Luck on the other side of the ball.

Coach Jim Harbaugh certainly noticed the effort by his young quarterback and while he would not commit to a quarterback for the season, Harbaugh did say, “If we started a game tomorrow, Andrew Luck would be our starter.”

Luck really only threw one or two bad passes. At least three of his incomplete passes were dropped passes or his numbers would have been even better.

Down 3-0 after the first quarter, Luck led the White team to its first touchdown. On a third and 16 play, Luck found Richard Sherman down the middle for a completion, and after Sherman put a nice move on the safety it ended with a 41-yard touchdown pass.

Luck’s next touchdown pass also went to Sherman. A nice 17-yard pass over the middle to Sherman who was interfered with trying to get free in the end zone. That score would make it 14-10 at the half in favor of the white squad.

The play of the game came on the first drive of the 3rd quarter. Luck again scrambling threw across his body downfield to Corey Gatewood for a gain of 55 yards. That set up a three yard touchdown run for Jonathan Stewart.

Luck had another great downfield throw to Doug Baldwin for 42 yards right down the sideline. It eventually led to a 20-yard touchdown pass on a fade route to Baldwin. That made the score 28-10 White.

In the fourth quarter, Luck again used his feet to step up in the pocket and fire the ball threw traffic to Ryan Whalen in the back of the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass.

The white would end the scoring in the game on a 4th and 10 play. It was deemed too long for a field goal attempt so they sent Luck and the offense back on the field. Luck fired a bullet 32 yards to the end zone to Coby Fleener who made a nice move on the defender to catch the ball and score the touchdown!

It was an impressive evening for Luck and both players and fans were impressed by what they saw. “That play was all Andrew,” Fleener said of his touchdown catch.

While Luck certainly stood out in the game, there were a number of other stars who made great plays. Pritchard had two short touchdown passes to the flat off of play action fakes. One went to fullback Owen Marecic and the other to running back Blaise Johnson who ran hard all night.

The surprise of the night was linebacker Alex Debniak, who made a few impressive defensive plays for the white, but wowed the crowed with his running ability at the fullback position. He surprised people with back to back runs of 11 and 14 yards in the second quarter. But the big run came in the 4th quarter when he rambled for 59 yards to set up a score. He capped his night on the red’s final drive by stopping a screen pass for a loss of three to set up a third and long.

The Cardinal were without many name players be it Toby Gerhart who was at Sunken Diamond playing baseball, or Delano Howell and Allen Smith who were out with injury. A lot of players played both ways because of that.

In the end it was great to see the Cardinal and White out there on the field. It was football under the lights! Now it is back to the weight room and film rooms for the next few months as they get ready for fall. And for the next four months the topic will continue to be who will start at quarterback for Stanford. Given tonight’s performance, that question may get answered sooner than later.

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The Dream Ends For Stanford

Posted by davefowkes on 03/12/2009

The Cardinal gave it a good run but in the end they came up well short against the Pac Ten Champion Washington Huskies. Stanford kept it close much of the way before finally falling 85-73.  Anthony Good almost willed the team to success with  26 points. Landry Fields was the star of the first half scoring 11 of his 16 points.  But in the end the desperation three pointers would not fall and despite forcing 21 turnovers the defense could not keep the Huskies out of the net.

Stanford shot fairly well as a team but Lawrence Hill had a bad day going just 2-14 from the field for 4 points which really hurt. Stanford impressed me in the first half on both the offensive and defensive rebounds. That kept the game close. But in the second half the Huskies imposed their physical superiority and Jon Brockman and Isiah Thomas took over the game.

Stanford would not go away thanks to Goods but in one stretch with about three minutes to go Goods, Hill and Jeremy Green all took ill-advised quick three pointers. None of them went in, and the Huskies extended the lead.

Bottom line, despite a solid effort from the Cardinal, the Huskies eventually took advantage of the Cardinal’s weaknesses in terms of an interior game both on offense and defense. The better team won the game!

What next for the Cardinal? Well they are clearly out of the NCAA and NIT tournaments, but with two other lesser known tournaments there is a chance the career’s of Goods, Hill, Mitch Johnson and Kenny Brown may continue to another day! Let’s hope so! Despite a disappointing run this year, it has been a good four years for all four of them!

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Stanford Lives For Another Day

Posted by davefowkes on 03/11/2009

A very nice win for the Cardinal tonight. After getting blown out by Oregon State in each of the first two match ups it was a shock to see the Cardinal favored by six points. I guess someone knew something somewhere! Stanford wins 62-54.

In a season filled with “what could have been” with three one-point road losses, it is great to see the seniors step up for the Cardinal and get an extra game for the team. Winning the first round match up earns them a date with Washington tomorrow afternoon.

But for one night it is a nice win for Stanford. Anthony Goods stepped up wtih 23 points, 17 of those points coming in the second half. Landry Fields added 13 points.

The keys for Stanford this year has been to shoot well and play perimeter defense. They do not have a good inside game on offense or defense. So playing well on the outside is critical. Stanford only shot 43% tonight, but unlike so many other games when they really needed that big shot, Goods delivered. His final three from the corner to put Stanford up by 7 with just over a minute to go was pretty much the game. That is the shot Stanford has missed all season long until tonight.

On defense the Cardinal limited a cold Beaver team to just 39% shooting. It was not the best game in the world by Oregon State, a team that has had such a great year by Beaver standards.

For the Cardinal it will be a tough task to beat the top-seeded Huskies, but at least they will get the opportunity. Seniors Goods, Lawrence Hill, Mitch Johnson and Kenny Brown have seen a lot on the Farm the last four years. This year has been such a disappointment that it is nice to seem them get that one win and give them the chance to play another day.

And who knows, one of those one point losses was at Washington to open the Pac Ten season. Maybe things can come full circle?

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College Hoop Thoughts

Posted by davefowkes on 02/22/2009

The hype yesterday was on bracket-buster weekend, but it was the big boys that made a lot of the news:

–I think we can officially call Stanford a bad basketball team right now. It is hard to know where it all went so wrong. Three one-point road losses in a row? The home shellacking to Oregon State? Bottom line, there is no excuse for losing to Oregon this year. And that is what the Cardinal did yesterday. It is a brutal year on the farm and with three seniors departing and not much fresh talent coming in, it could be a long couple of years for Stanford.

–By the way, how far has the Oregon program fallen that the Duck faithful decided they needed to storm the court after beating Stanford! Can we all say it together, “Oregon now introduces Mark Few as new basketball coach….”

–Bad loss by Cal. OSU is clearly better than it has been but the Bears could be in 2nd place today. Instead they need at least one win either at home against the LA schools or on the road in Arizona to secure that tournament bid.

–Kudos to OSU for sweeping the Bay Area this year. 4-0! That is impressive. I am quite sure that has not happened since the Ralph Miller era!

–Losing at home to WSU is bad enough but how the heck did UCLA give up 81 points? It usually takes WSU a game and a half to get 80 points. Yet they did it on the Bruins home court against a traditionally strong, defensive minded team. UCLA will find themselves out of the top 25 this week. A true sign of how far behind the Pac Ten is this year.

–That said, the Huskies keep rolling. Nice road win for them over USC.

–Big game tonight in the state of Arizona. The Cats are one of the hotter teams. Can they keep the streak alive? ASU seems to have rebounded from a mid-season slump. For ASU 2nd place is on the table, for AZ it is about getting to the tournament.

–A win by Maryland is bad for those of us dreaming about mid-major conferences getting at-large bids. By rallying to beat UNC (and shocking me) Maryland is right back in the tournament talk. The more of these mid-level big conference schools that make a run, the less opportunity for the mid-majors to participate in March.

–Congrats to USF for getting the big win in OT over Santa Clara. Since USF suspended 4 players last week they have been competitive in all their games, including Gonzaga last weekend. It was nice to see them get rewarded for their efforts last night. Maybe Rex Chapman knows what he is doing after all?

–With a recent loss to Boise State (who got pounded last night by Portland State) and then losing at St. Mary’s last night, Utah State has proved the WAC will only get one team into the tourney. They better win their conference tournament! As for St. Mary’s, they are playing well and have a shot at winning the WCC tourney if Patty Mills comes back. They will need to because their losses when he first went down will keep the Gaels from an at-large bid. But if they do manage to win the berth, Gonzaga would get an at-large bid!

–I know nobody else west of New York cares, but I would love to see Niagara beat Sienna in the MAAC tourney and then the tournament reward Sienna with an at large birth. Both teams could create match up issues in the big dance and shoot their way to potential first round upsets.

–Butler vs Davidson was a good game but I wonder what would have happened had Stephen Curry not been hurt last week. He clearly was not the same player yesterday that he has been. Butler plays good defense so give them some credit but Curry just did not seem to have his legs under him. Anyone else catch how young that Butler coach looks? They pick him up out of high school?

–How do I know that Oklahoma is a great team? On the road, with the best player in college hoops on the bench (Blake Griffen left early with a concussion), they still almost beat Texas. With good health Oklahoma wins that game by 10.

–Three of the top four teams lost this past week. Still, this is a four team race as far as I am concerned with the top four teams being much better than the rest. After yesterday’s results, this would be my top five if I had a vote: 1. Pittsburgh 2. UConn, 3. Oklahoma 4. UNC 5. Memphis.

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Big Game Recap

Posted by davefowkes on 02/15/2009

That one hurt yesterday! A tale of two halfs. Stanford blows up Cal in the first half with a lead that reached 22 points at one point. Cal responds in the second half to pull out the 82-75 win and a season split with the Cardinal.

I could feel it coming. Despite how much the Cardinal dominated in the first half, the fact is they did it with 77% shooting. They could not miss. And they weren’t turning the ball over. The reality is all those numbers were due to come back to earth in the second half. They key to the game was a late run by Cal in the first half. Rather than going to half down 20+ they were able to make a quick run and cut the lead to 14. That gave them a manageable number in the second half and a little momentum.

Then in the second half, they just dominated. While they never seem to hit their first shot, they dominated the boards getting second and third attempts until they got the bucket. They wasted no time in coming back and while Stanford tried to fend them off, eventually they caved in.

Stanford again showed their team weakness. NO inside game. Cal won the game when the crashed the offensive boards. Stanford could do nothing to stop them. On offense, Stanford showed they are only as good as their outside shooters. In the first half they could do no wrong, but in the second half when the laws of averages hit and they started missing their shots, they really could not do anything to manufacture good shots. Stanford has a long season in front of them and with 4 outgoing seniors and only 1 incoming freshman next year, it could be a down couple of years for the Cardinal program. Johnny Dawkins is going to have to prove just how good a coach and recruiter he is. If he doesn’t….

As for Cal, Jerome Randle is an amazing point guard and he just seems to get better every time I watch him play. Cal turned their game (and maybe their season) around by playing tough perimeter defense, challenging the Cardinal on the outside. If Cal is willing to commit to playing Mike Montgomery’s defense, and they continue to hit shots, and Randle stays healthy, they really will compete in a down Pac Ten. Jorge Guttierrez looks like a great freshman and I don’t believe there are any seniors on the team. The future for Cal looks pretty bright!

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Pac Ten Weekend Plays

Posted by davefowkes on 02/07/2009

I was so spot on for Thursday I decided I would try again today. Granted, being spot on means I picked every winner!  LOL.  Not sure I can say I hit every spread. But there is always today:

Washington State at Cal: Despite a stretch of games where they lost four out of five games, Thursday night’s win over Washington put Cal right back in contention in the Pac Ten. Cal is now in a three way tie for third with USC and Arizona, one game behind the Huskies and two behind UCLA. This is a dangerous matchup for the Bears. On paper they should win this game easily. But WSU makes teams look ugly with their defense. The key for the Bears is to not get caught up playing ugly ball with the Cougars. If they limit turnovers and hit a few 3’s they really should win this game easily. I like Cal at home, but this is a trap game I could see shocking some people at the end. CAL 67-57.

Washington at Stanford (Sunday): Very big game here. Washington is trying to prove they belong in the upper echelon of the Pac Ten. To do that they cant get swept in the Bay Area. Stanford meanwhile had a nice win at home against WSU. Can they make it two in a row? Jon Brockman’s layup in January gave Washington a 1-point win over the Cardinal in Seattle. That said, I dont think Stanford is palying as well as they were then. And I am quite sure Stanford still does not have an answer for Brockman, the best big man in the Pac Ten. For Stanford to win, they need to shoot well, especially beyond the arc, and play very tough perimeter defense. Brockman will beat them so they can not afford to give up many 3’s. Let Brockman score his 30 points, grab is 20 rebounds, but if they shut down everyone else, they have a chance. My heart bleeds red, but I am not a believer right now.  Washington 78-72.

The other games:

Notre Dame at UCLA: Huge game here and mostly it is for Pac Ten bragging rights. We all know the Pac Ten is down this year! Well this is UCLA’s opportunity to prove that the league is improving and is better since the preseason. UCLA must beat the Big East school. Especially since that Big East school comes to town riding a six game losing streak. If Notre Dame wins this one on the road, it could mean bad things for UCLA in terms of seating, and maybe even for the conference in terms of how many teams go to the tournament. A must win for UCLA and the Pac Ten. That said, UCLA is playing better, they will take care of business!  UCLA 78-69.

Arizona at Oregon: How is Arizona only favored by 5? Oregon is bad. Playing at home keeps from a huge blowout!  Arizona 77-64.

Arizona State at Oregon state:  This could be ugly to watch. OSU is a legitimate team this year. But in the end, ASU has better players. ASU 64-58.

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Pac Ten Thursday

Posted by davefowkes on 02/05/2009

It seems like I say it every Thursday when the Pac Ten schedule pops up, here is another huge weekend of games. When you have a conference that is clearly down compared to past years, every weekend seems to be huge. Especially for teams that look fabulous one week, and then lay the egg the next week:

Washington at Cal: Huge match up here for Cal! Are the Bears a good team or a bad team? They started off so hot and when they played Washington in Seattle they won in triple overtime. But since those opening couple of weeks, Cal has not dropped four of their last five, and that only win was against a very bad Duck team. The Huskies meanwhile are clearly the surprise of the Pac Ten this year and need a win to keep pace withUCLA. Sweeping the Arizona teams on the road last week was huge. This game should be a good one that goes down to the wire – but probably not to triple overtime. The key for Cal, play better defense and cut down turnovers. With their backs to the wall and playing at home, I think Cal gets the much needed win!  CAL: 78-73

This is truly a what could have been season for Stanford. Three road losses by 1 point. The could be atop the standings in the Pac Ten, instead they are in 9thplace and coming off a 34 point loss at UCLA. With WSU coming into town this is gut check time for Stanford. Win at home, pull some upsets on the road and maybe they can salvage the season. But if they are beat and demoralized, they will live in 9th place the rest of the way. WSU plays great D, so Stanford must play better defense than they have in weeks to try and keep up. STANFORD: 65-60.

The other two games tonight:

Oregon state has been a huge story this year in the Pac Ten and even nationally. Unfortunately I fear their win streak may come to an end tonight – although i will be routing for them!  ARIZONA 68-61.

Oregon is just a bad team. ASU has got to be embarrassed after getting swept at home. If ASU is for real as some of us believed two weeks ago, they win this easily by double digits even on the road.  ASU 74-59.

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Big recruiting day

Posted by davefowkes on 02/04/2009

Oh my what a day! Okay, maybe the recruiting class is not as great as predicted all the way back to yesterday, but this is still a great day for Stanford football fans! Today is national letter of intent signing day for college football. All the high school seniors put their signature on a piece of paper declaring which college they are going to go.

It appears to be a banner day for the Cardinal! The consensus is that Stanford has a top 20 recruiting class nationally and the 3rd best list in the Pac Ten. (UCLA had a good day and jumped Stanford into 2nd place). As a long suffering Stanford fan though this is just wonderful! First the obvious, how often has Stanford had top 20 classes ever? Then you think about the depths that this program has sunk in the early part of this decade, to think that student-athletes again want to attend the farm brings nothing but optimism for me! Jim Harbaugh is proving he was not just a good hire, but a great one! Kids want to come here and play for him. And if he leaves to coach in the pros next year, the kids will still be left with a free ride at a prestigious institution. Not a bad deal!

As for the details, Harbaugh likes TEs I guess since he has 4 of them on the way. But there are some exciting players in the mix. The number one recruit, a 4-5 star MLB from Pawling, NY, Shayne Skov, could help right away next year. Local high school Bellermine will send two players, RB Usua Amanam and the only OL recruited Kevin Danser. Amanam will also compete for playing time as a true freshman.

Bottom line, who knows what will happen to these athletes. Maybe they never develop, maybe the coaching staff changes, but on a day when they declare where they want to go, I am just happy that Stanford has a bumper crop of athletes and a top 20 ranking. The buzz is high for Stanford. The football futures seems to be very bright!

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Bay Area Basketball Saturday

Posted by davefowkes on 01/31/2009

Lots of games to choose from today as all the local boys are in play. But while most fans keep an eye on Stanford or Cal down in LA, how St. Mary’s does without Patrick Mills at Portland, or even the resurgent Broncos to against Pepperdine, my focus will be on the city on the bay: USF hosting Loyola!

Why you ask? First of all, this has some serious potential for bad basketball! The WCC is clearly down this year and two of the bottom dwellers have been Pepperdine and Loyola. Pepperdine only have 5 wins this year. But now, one of those wins is a conference road win at San Francisco on Thursday night. So this sets the stage for one win Loyola, coming off a 26 point loss at Santa Clara to visit the Dons a team that is apparently bad enough to lose to Pepperdine at home! Yes, this could magical. I made the comment on Thursday that USF might be trying to get demoted to Division 1-AA. Well if they lose today, lets just take them down the Division 2. Yes, this is a big game for the Dons for all the wrong reasons!

Meanwhile, Cal is playing horribly these days. They are a better team then they showed at UCLA. But results are what they are, and right now Cal is not playing well. USC plays great defense, Cal will need to hit their 3s and reduce their turnovers. If they do they can win. And right now, they need a win!

Stanford has a tough one today in UCLA. How do you respond to that tough one point loss at USC on Thursday night? Well in the state of Washington they responded with another one point loss. I dont see it today. I hope I am wrong, but I think the frustration finally starts to sink in a bit today and UCLA wins easy.

Portland is a decnent up and coming team. No easy win there and now St Mary’s will be battling without Patrick Mills who is out with a broken wrist and coming off the emotional let down of their loss to Gonzaga. St Mary’s needs this win to keep the hope for a potential at large birth alive! They cant sleep on this one, and without Mills they have no business sleeping at all!

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My first blog

Posted by davefowkes on 01/29/2009

Wow, this is so exciting. My first blog! What a concept. Now I get to spend time typing out all my great thoughts and just hoping that someone cares enough about what I have to say to read. Yeah, right. So I guess I should say hi mom?

So for my first blog I had to think to myself, what should I write about? So many teams, so much to say, where do I start? I could go with the breaking news for the 49ers or Raiders. But this is my first blog, so I should probably start with my one true love,  sorry honey, the Stanford football Cardinal!

I cant get too in depth since this is my first blog and I have no idea what I am doing.  So I will just state how excited I am already for the new season to begin! The recruiting class is ranked 10th nationally by Scout.com and 15th by Rivals.com. I can not think of higher rankings for Stanford! The team has improved in two years under Coach Jim Harbaugh. This year they will line up Andrew Luck at QB. Toby Gerhart should be back at RB. And all the youth of last year will have one year of experience under the belt to go with a top 20 recruiting class! I am not sure that Harbaugh will be at Stanford past next season, but sitting here on a sunshiney day in the end of January, the future looks very bright!!!!!

Is it football season yet?

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Bad luck or bad team?

Posted by davefowkes on 01/29/2009

That was just brutal! With little expected of them in Southern California this weekend, Stanford took USC the distance. But in the end, Lawrence Hill’s show went halfway down before popping back out and Stanford found themselves on the losing end of yet another 1-point game. This makes it three straight games on the road for Stanford that they have lost by 1-point.  At the end of this season when Stanford is sitting home in March, Cardinal fans will look back and wonder, what could have been. Winning those three games would mean a first place tie, instead, it means 7th or 8th place in the Pac Ten.

Stanford played well for the most part. USC plays great defense yet Stanford was able to run their offense and get good shots. They were also strong on the offensive boards which is huge for them. In the end the difference would be turnovers as USC had 9 steals and the continued inability to stop an inside power game.

But the true problem with Stanford this year as effident by three 1-points losses, they still dont have that go to guy! And while it would be a learning lesson if this were a young team, the Cardinal is led by three seniors that will be out the door in March. That makes these losses, all the more frustrating.

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