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Stanford wins ninth consecutive Big Game

With offensive explosions in the first and fourth quarters bookending a stagnation of scoring in the second and third, Stanford football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) hoisted the Axe and claimed its ninth straight Big Game victory over the California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) this past Saturday by a score of 23-13. Coming off of a two-game win streak and sporting a Pac-12 leading defense, Cal may have had its best chance in years to surprise the Cardinal and snap a nearly decade-long streak of Big Game dominance, but came up short in a defensive standoff.

King’s Keys: The Desperation Bowl

Before the season, Stanford football’s week 10 road trip to Washington looked like one of the most important games on the Pac-12 calendar. The November 3rd showdown was set up to be a de-facto Pac-12 North championship game between two preseason top 15 teams. As late as week 4, both teams were ranked in the AP Top 10 and seemed to be on a collision course that would decide the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff fate. Even a week ago at this time, most assumed Stanford-Washington would be a battle of ranked teams for Pac-12 supremacy. But then, Washington lost to Cal and Stanford dropped a heartbreaker to Washington State, leaving both the Huskies and the Cardinal out of the first College Football Playoff rankings and setting up Wazzu as the prohibitive division favorite. The Pac-12 is Mike Leach’s world, and Washington and Stanford are just living in it.

Instant recap: Costello’s record game not enough to keep up with Wazzu

In what very well may have been quarterback KJ Costello’s best game for the Cardinal, ending with 323 yards and four touchdowns and a strong completion percentage of 79%, Stanford came up just short Saturday night in a tough 41-38 loss to the Washington State Cougars. It was certainly Stanford’s debut as a pass-first team, throwing 43 times compared to only 23 plays on the ground.

King’s Keys: Playing for the Pac-12

No. 24 Stanford football (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) got the win they needed last week at Arizona State. The Cardinal now control their own destiny in the Pac-12 North and will have a chance to play for the Rose Bowl if they win out. Every Pac-12 showdown is massive at this point because the North is essentially a four team race between Stanford, No. 19 Oregon, No. 15 Washington, and No. 14 Washington State. Every team except Oregon has just one conference loss, so any Pac-12 defeat would drop the Cardinal off the pace and make it nearly impossible for them to still reach the conference championship game. Every game is important, but the next two weeks are just a little bigger.

Football bounces back, takes down Sun Devils in Arizona

Stanford football (5-2, 3-1) recovered from two straight painful losses to get a huge 20-13 road victory over Arizona State (3-4, 1-3) on Thursday night. Senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside had seven catches for 91 yards and the go-ahead touchdown, his ninth of the year. The Cardinal defense forced three turnovers to keep the Sun Devils offense in check and move Stanford one step closer to a Pac-12 North title.

King’s Keys: Schooling the Sun Devils

Stanford football (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) enters this Thursday’s matchup with Arizona State (3-3, 1-2) unranked for the first time this year thanks to two straight losses. The season has taken a sharp turn after such a promising 4-0 start that raised expectations to Andrew Luck era levels. The exhilarating comeback victory over Oregon and Top 10 ranking feels like a different season at this point, and yet the Cardinal still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 North. With a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl appearance still on the table, Stanford can turn 2018 into a success. The sky is not falling. But it might be if the Cardinal lose to Arizona State Thursday night.

King’s Keys: Upending Notre Dame

The Daily’s football writer King Jemison shares the three keys the Cardinal football team should adhere to this weekend if they hope to take down the Fighting Irish.

No. 7 Stanford just got over one massive hurdle on their path to the College Football Playoff by defeating No. 19 Oregon on the road. If they want to stay on that path, they have to go on the road and beat a ranked team yet again. This time, the opponent is No. 8 Notre Dame, under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium. With Touchdown Jesus hovering over one end zone, this football shrine is where National Championship dreams go to die – just ask the 2012 Stanford team, whose OT loss in South Bend likely cost them a spot in the BCS Championship game. Or ask #14 Michigan, whose 24-17 loss to the Fighting Irish is their only blemish so far. This may be the hardest game on Stanford’s schedule, and it comes on the second week of a tough road trip after an incredibly emotional victory. Coming out of South Bend with a win seems like a tall task, but the theme for the Cardinal this season is believe. With that in mind, here’s three keys for Stanford in this huge Top 10 battle against Notre Dame.