Stanford Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

Stanford Cardinal


Who would have thought that the Cardinal would be a force in the Pac-12 after superstar quarterback Andrew Luck went into the NFL as the Number 1 draft pick?  Stanford went into Eugene and shut down Oregon’s first-rate prolific offense.  The Cardinal played all season with the best defense in the conference.  After half a season, Coach David Shaw saw something in quarterback Kevin Hogan he did not see from original starter Josh Nunes.  After inserting Hogan into the lineup against Colorado, Stanford never looked back.  He has since led the Stanford to victories over every opponent that stands in their way.  With a defense like this, Stanford could be a dangerous opponent for the coming years.

2012 Record: 11-2, 8-1
Coach: David Shaw
Coach Bowl Record: 0-1

Big Wins: 11/17 at Oregon (17-14), 11/24 at UCLA (35-17)
Bad Losses: 9/27 at Washington (13-17), 10/13 at Notre Dame (13-20)

Stanford leads the Pac-12 in every major defensive category except for passing.  They are first in the nation in stopping the run with 71 yards per game and they have allowed less than 330 yards per game this season.  Had it not been for their mediocre secondary, that number would be even less.  The pass pressure the front seven applies is deadly.  Amazingly, they are only second in their own conference in sack totals.  They average over four per game, which is a high number considering the offenses they face in the Pac-12.  At just under 17 points per game, they keep offenses out of the end zone.  Since they average 28 points per game, that generally sets them up for victories.  They also have a stout offensive line.  Hogan and Nunes or whoever is playing quarterback, has rarely been touched this year.  Stanford is first in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed.  That keeps an offense in rhythm and the execution is better.  Their special teams unit is also fairly strong.  They are top three in the conference in both of their return games.

The passing defense is not strong, but that has been largely masked by the rest of their defense.  They need to button up their 250 yards-plus allowed per game.  If they do, then they will have one of the most dominating defenses this side of the SEC.  Overall, offensively they are not the most efficient.  They finished eighth in the conference in total offense.  Had they been able to generate more offense they may have found the end zone more as well.  Twenty-eight points per game is well and good, but the Pac-12 scores a lot of points.  A lot of other conferences average 30 or more.  They are hitting receivers for just over 200 yards per game.  That is not very prolific.  Playing two quarterbacks changes an offense’s rhythm.  Schemes change as skill sets change.  As Hogan gets better their scoring ability should too.  He will be able to spread the ball around and get even more comfortable with the weapons he has.  As long as Hogan’s inexperience does not catch up, Stanford always stands a chance.  He is not Andrew Luck, but he has been good so far.  If he gets rattled against a defense like his own, can he recover?

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Stepfan Taylor, RB, 1,442 yards
Passing: Josh Nunes, QB, 1,643 yards
Receiving: Zach Ertz, WR, 837 yards
Tackles: Shayne Skov, LB, 72
Sacks: Trent Murphy, LB, 10.0
Interceptions: Ed Reynolds, S, 6

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 173.58 (49th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 207.50 (90, 10)
Total Offense: 381.08 (83, 8)
Scoring Offense: 28.58 (68, 7)
Rushing Defense: 71.33 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 257.42 (89, 7)
Total Defense: 328.75 (19, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.92 (11, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.58 (28, 2)
Sacks: 4.42 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (33, 1)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Fiesta Bowl    Oklahoma State (38-41)
2010    Orange Bowl    Virginia Tech (40-12)
2009    Sun Bowl    Oklahoma (27-31)
2001    Seattle Bowl    Georgia Tech (14-24
1999    Rose Bowl    Wisconsin (9-17)

*all team stats through 11/24


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