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RT @jwallach12: Ajanaku already with five attack errors through two sets due to those three blocks at the end of the 2nd. Her season-high i…: 9 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford survives the second set, wins 25-23. Match even at a set apiece. Many adjustments to make at the break for the Card.: 16 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Second set knotted at 22 after Courtney's 12th kill of the match. Yes, it's still the second set.: 19 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Another timeout from Dunning and the Card after two more PSU points, including another block of Ajanaku. Lions within two, 21-19.: 22 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Lions on three-point run out of timeout, including two blocks of Ajanaku on the outside. PSU closes to 21-17. Timeout Stanford.: 24 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Ajanaku with a huge kill, now six on the night. Stanford up 21-14 in the 2nd. Russ Rose takes another timeout trying to salvage the set: 27 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford getting back to what got it here in the second set: ball distribution throughout its offense. Card up 19-13 in the 2nd, PSU timeout: 30 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford up 15-11 at the second set media timeout.: 36 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Cardinal up 9-8 in the second set. Big service error from Hancock gives sideout: 40 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport
"Chop that tree" chants coming from the Penn State band: 45 mins ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Instant Replay: Speed in Space

In last Saturday’s Stanford-Arizona State football game, No. 5 Stanford pounded then-No. 23 Arizona State, solidifying its status as a national championship contender. The Cardinal set the tone early by pummeling the Sun Devils at the line of scrimmage and led 29-0 at the half before cruising to a 42-28 victory. Stanford opened the scoring with a lovely tunnel screen pass to explosive junior wide receiver Ty Montgomery, a play that exemplified the smooth execution of the Stanford offense.

Stanford was facing third-and-10 at the Arizona State 17-yard line and needed to get a first down. The Sun Devils dropped five defensive backs to the first-down line, which opened up large spaces up front for short throws. Taking what the defense gave, head coach David Shaw and his play-calling team called a short throw: the tunnel screen.

(DURAN ALVAREZ/The Stanford Daily)

(DURAN ALVAREZ/The Stanford Daily)

To set the play up, Stanford faked its most ubiquitous run play, “power.” Right guard Kevin Danser pulled from the formation (outlined in blue), ostensibly leading the way for running back Tyler Gaffney (R). Because defensive players are trained to recognize visual cues such as a pulling guard, the play-action deception was a success; it caused Arizona State’s front six to focus on Gaffney. Even without actually blocking anyone, Stanford opened up the middle of the field, and Montgomery could then run wild.

Consistent with the situation, Stanford’s quick passing game got speed in space. As soon as the play began, quarterback Kevin Hogan threw the ball to Montgomery (A), whose job was to use his explosiveness to get into the end zone. Montgomery broke inside to receive the pass then ran downfield, where three Stanford players were blocking for him: receiver Devon Cajuste (X), right tackle Cameron Fleming and center Khalil Wilkes. The successful play-action gave Stanford the numbers advantage — with three blockers against three defenders, Arizona State had no answer for Montgomery.

Stanford’s big linemen and the 6-foot-4, 228-pound Cajuste had a clear physical advantage over the smaller ASU defensive backs (F/S, N, and C). With both numbers and size on their side, the Cardinal players mauled their opponents, accomplishing that rarest of football feats, a “chalkboard play” — a precious moment in which the action unfolds exactly as it was designed to and every player does his job because he is both in position to make his play and physically capable of making that play.

By this point, scoring was a foregone conclusion: Montgomery flew into the end zone, giving Stanford a lead that it would not relinquish. With advantages both in physical strength and schematic efficiency, Stanford’s play illustrated the seamless execution that characterized the Cardinal’s first-half annihilation of Arizona State.

Contact Winston Shi at wshi94 ‘at’

About Winston Shi

Winston Shi is an opinions columnist and senior staff writer for The Stanford Daily and was the Managing Editor of Opinions for Volume 245 (February-June 2014). He also sits on The Daily's Editorial Board. Previously, he worked at The Daily as a staff writer for the sports section. He is a junior from Thousand Oaks, California and majors in history. In his free time, he likes to read, travel and write about himself in the third person. Contact him at

    Awesome. Need more of this stuff!