By Michael Woo
Stanford-Colorado is not a matchup rich with history. In fact, outside of the games played in 2011 and 2012, the last time these teams played each other was in 1993. As of late, Stanford has stood atop the Pac-12 rankings, while Colorado has dwelled at the bottom. Many expect Saturday’s contest in Boulder to fit the bill of recent matchups, which the Cardinal have dominated, but there’s always an outside chance that the excitement of the 1993 game resurfaces. Here’s a look at the last three meetings between these two teams:
1993: No. 20 Stanford upsets No. 7 Colorado after controversial call
Back in 1993, the Cardinal offense was led by senior quarterback Steve Stenstrom, who threw for 382 yards and 5 touchdowns in the matchup against Colorado. Despite Stenstrom’s gaudy stats, Stanford found itself down late in the fourth quarter. Stenstrom, however, would lead his team to score the final 14 points of the game in the last four minutes, securing a 41-37 win.
The game came down to the final play, when Stenstrom found an open receiver in the back of the end zone with eight seconds remaining. Tony Cline, who was on the receiving end of the touchdown pass, came down with the football, but dropped it when he was hit in the end zone. Nonetheless, he was credited with the catch, and Stanford came away with the controversial win.
2011: Luck leads No. 7 Stanford to blowout 48-7 win
Amidst another Heisman runner-up campaign, senior Andrew Luck turned in his best performance of the season against Colorado. Luck threw for a season-high (at the time) 370 yards and 3 touchdowns, keeping the Cardinal undefeated at 5-0. The quarterback spread the wealth amongst the offense, hitting 11 different receivers and completing 77 percent of his passes.
Stanford opened the game by blocking a 29-yard field goal and returning it 75 yards for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, Colorado cut the lead down to six, making the score 13-7, but the Cardinal would go on to score the final 35 points of the game. Three different running backs scored for Stanford, including Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney, who combined for 119 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Griff Whalen was the Cardinal’s leading receiver with 92 yards and 1 touchdown.
2012: Hogan shines in his Stanford debut
Despite a 7-2 record, No. 14 Stanford turned to redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan to solve the Cardinal’s offensive woes. Hogan replaced senior Josh Nunes after the first two drives of the game and led Stanford to a 48-0 win over Colorado. In just two quarters of work, Hogan threw for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 18 of his 23 passes. He was also the leading rusher for Stanford, amassing 48 yards on 7 carries.
In the first quarter, Stanford jumped out to a 7-0 lead with an Ed Reynolds pick-six, but the offense failed to add any additional points with Nunes under center. When Hogan took over in the second quarter, the offense erupted for 28 points. Halfway through the third quarter, Hogan connected with tight end Levine Toilolo on a 19-yard pass for his second touchdown of the day. Hogan would go on to take the starting job and lead Stanford to a Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl victory that season.
Contact Michael Woo at mtwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.