Stanford Football Bowl Capsule

Stanford Cardinal
Pacific-12 Conference


The high hopes for a National Championship at Stanford may have come to an end against the Oregon Ducks on November 12th. The Cardinal were embarrassed by the Ducks on national television, and may have dashed the possibility of a Heisman Trophy win for quarterback Andrew Luck as well. However, since that game, the Cardinal have returned to the top echelon of the BCS and, given the right circumstances, may still end the season as one of the top schools in the FBS. In addition, Luck is still considered by nearly all NFL Draft prognosticators as the top overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

2011 Record: 11-1 (8-1)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2011 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (W 40-12)

Big Wins: 10/29 Southern Cal (56-48), 11/26 Notre Dame (28-14)
Bad Losses: 11/12 Oregon (53-30)

Coach: David Shaw (11-1 at Stanford, 11-1 overall)
Bowl Record: 0-0 at Stanford, 0-0 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Pep Hamilton
Defensive Coordinator: Derek Mason and Jason Tarver

Obviously the biggest strength for the Cardinal is the arm of Andrew Luck. He is a   potential Heisman Trophy winner and even more likely the number one draft pick in April’s NFL Draft. What may be overlooked is Stanford’s ability to control the ball offensively and keep the opposing offenses off the field. With running back Stepfan Taylor, the fifth most productive back in the Pac-12, carrying the ball the Cardinal can win the battle for time of possession. Taylor has run for 1,153 on 207 carries in an expectedly pass-heavy offensive scheme.

Stanford’s greatest weakness is their defensive unit. This group was exposed in the November game against the Oregon Ducks. The Cardinal defense allowed 46 points against the Ducks’ offense (the other seven coming while the offense was on the field). If Stanford is forced to face another team with multiple weapons, and one that likes to spread the field, it could be a challenge for their defense to respond.  In addition, the success of the offense depends greatly on Luck. If he falters on any front, it can be an uphill battle to work around a star of that caliber. Too much dependence on a single player can spell doom for a well prepared bowl team.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Stepfan Taylor, RB, 1,153 yards
Passing: Andrew Luck, QB, 3,170 yards
Receiving: Griff Whalen, WR, 664 yards
Tackles: Jarek Lancaster, LB, 63
Sacks: Chase Thomas, LB, 8.5
Interceptions: Michael Thomas, S, 3

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 207.92 (23rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 273.00 (26, 6)
Total Offense: 480.92 (10, 2)
Scoring Offense: 43.58 (5, 2)
Rushing Defense: 90.33 (5, 1)
Pass Defense: 241.08 (79, 4)
Total Defense: 331.42 (24, 1)
Scoring Defense: 20.33 (23, 2)
Turnover Margin: .50 (26, 4)
Sacks: 3.17 (7, 2)
Sacks Allowed: .75 (8, 2)


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