There may not be a more daunting task in sports than following greatness. Every legend that has ever graced a sports field leaves at some point, either to join another team or to call it a career. The athletes that replace these legends are charged not only with stepping into an important role for quite possibly their first time but filling the vacant gap left by a superstar and the expectations that come along with it.
Nerd Nation remembers when Notre Dame stopped running back Stepfan Taylor ’13 inches short of the goal line to hand Stanford a heartbreaking 20-13 overtime loss in rainy South Bend. Nerd Nation remembers Irish fans rushing the field after the officials announced — in what was one of the most controversial rulings of the 2012 college football season — that the call stood. Outside linebacker Chase Thomas ’12 called it one of the toughest losses of his career, on par with the Fiesta Bowl loss.
A loss to a bitter rival, coupled with the gloomy, wet weather at Tuesday’s practice, could easily put a damper on a team’s overall spirit. For the Stanford Cardinal, however, intensity at practice remains as high as ever due in large part to the example set by the team’s senior leadership.
In one of the most electric atmospheres at Stanford Stadium in recent memory, No. 5 Stanford (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12) shocked the college football world for the second year in a row by upending mighty No. 3 Oregon (8-1, 5-1) 26-20. The deceivingly close score didn’t do justice to the fact that the Cardinal utterly dominated in all three phases of the game for over three-and-half quarters, before the Ducks stormed back in the last five minutes of the game — thanks to a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown and a quick score following an onside kick recovery — to cap the night off in dramatic fashion.
In advance of Saturday’s football game between Stanford and Oregon State, The Daily’s Winston Shi chatted with Andrew Kilstrom of The Daily Barometer, Oregon State’s student newspaper, to get perspective from both camps. Below is a partial transcript of their conversation.