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.
Though it didn’t come to the forefront in the Cardinal’s blowout win against Cal, head coach David Shaw’s play calling has been one of the most controversial aspects of the 2013 Stanford football season. Stanford’s performance in pressure situations hasn’t been all bad, however. Despite the team’s well-documented red zone struggles, it still leads the Pac-12 in third down efficiency (51.6 percent). We asked football writers Winston Shi, Do-Hyoung Park and David Cohn: What is Stanford doing wrong in the red zone, but right on third down?
Apparently there is a minimum talent level required to activate the “Cardiac Cardinal” mode of Stanford football, and Cal is nowhere close to that point.
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.