It didn’t take the Stanford Cardinal long to put points up on Duke Saturday night; in fact, only 1:07 had passed when Drew Terrell took a 76-yard punt return to the house to get the Cardinal going.
Perhaps many of us didn’t give San Jose State enough credit for hanging tough in their 20-17 Week 1 loss to Stanford, because the Cardinal looked like a totally different team when they took out their frustrations on Duke, 50-13. It was such a drubbing that Brett Nottingham replaced Josh Nunes at quarterback in the fourth quarter of Nunes’ second start as a collegiate player. Nunes finished the day 16-for-30 for 275 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
Duke used all three of their quarterbacks and passed for nearly 400 yards in the contest, but three interceptions played a big role in the Blue Devils’ inability to score. One of those picks was returned 71 yards for a touchdown by Kyle Olugbode.
— Stepfan Taylor finished his day with 14 carries for 69 yards (4.9 avg) and a touchdown, but he was only one of six different runners that touched the ball. Despite the variety of looks, Stanford rushers only combined for 92 yards rushing; disappointing for a team that usually excels on the ground.
— The passing game excelled where the running game failed, seeing production from nine different receivers. Not surprisingly, the two top receivers were tight ends Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz, who made a combined five catches for 108 yards. Toilolo caught one of Nunes’ three touchdowns passes on the day, with the others going to Drew Terrell and Jamal-Rashad Patterson.
— Stanford’s run defense was much improved, especially with the return of Shayne Skov. They only allowed 27 yards on 23 carries – that’s an anemic 1.2 YPC average. The only touchdown of Duke’s evening was a four yard run by Brandon Connette.
Movement in the AP’s Top 25
I thought initially that beating a team like Duke would have little impact on Stanford’s spot at the bottom of the top 25; I was wrong.
AP has Stanford up four spots from last week, as the Cardinal are now ranked at No. 21. Interesting to note that Arizona and UCLA have snuck into the Top 25 this week as well. UCLA sits at No. 22 following their 36-30 win over Nebraska and Arizona landed at No. 24 after beating up on Oklahoma State 59-38. That makes five Pac-12 schools now ranked in the Top 25.
The top ranked Pac-12 team on that list, 2nd-ranked USC, comes to The Farm Saturday to take on Stanford. That’s two big games for the local college teams, with Cal visiting #12 Ohio State, so Saturday should be fun … or not fun at all.