Stanford unsure of QB’s status as Colorado visits
The Pac-12 football season finally started last week, but two games were canceled due to coronavirus issues. Stanford hopes that lingering virus issues won’t wipe out its Saturday home game against Colorado.
The Cardinal (0-1, 0-1 Pac-12) opened with a 35-14 loss at Oregon, a game that quarterback Davis Mills, wide receiver Connor Wedington and defensive end Trey LaBounty all missed due to COVID-19 testing results and contact tracing protocols.
Head coach David Shaw said Tuesday another unnamed player was affected by the virus, and the status of the four players for Saturday was unknown.
“We’ll see how that gets resolved, whether or not those young people will remain isolated or be able to work back,” Shaw said. “So it’s not in our hands, but we’ll work with whatever comes our way there.
“This is professionals doing their jobs in order to keep our communities safe. We’ll just wait for them to let us know what’s going on, and the rest of us will prepare for Saturday.”
Shaw said he hopes to have cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly back from injury, but the status of linebackers Levani Damuni and Ricky Miezan, both of whom played against the Ducks, was unknown as of Tuesday.
With Mills out in the opener, junior quarterback Jack West started and was solid, completing 13 of 19 passes for 154 yards with no turnovers. Freshman Tanner McKee also took some snaps, producing 62 yards on 3-of-7 passing.
If Mills doesn’t play Saturday, Shaw could use both quarterbacks against Colorado, which is coming off a 48-42 victory over UCLA last Saturday.
The Buffaloes (1-0, 1-0) won in coach Karl Dorrell’s debut and did it with a quarterback who played defense last year and a running back coming off an injury. Senior Sam Noyer threw for 257 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Jarek Broussard rushed for 187 yards and three scores.
Colorado built a 28-point lead against the Bruins but had to hold off a furious rally in the second half. Dorrell has quickly turned the page and started focusing on Stanford.
“It’s a good start for us,” Dorrell said Monday. “Definitely have a lot of issues to correct in all phases. … We’re looking forward to another opportunity this weekend.”
Dorrell is keenly aware that COVID-19 can scuttle a game. Wisconsin did not play the past two weekends because of an outbreak, and three Southeastern Conference games scheduled for this week, including No. 1 Alabama at LSU, have been postponed.
Dorrell said the team would have extra testing leading up to Saturday, the Buffaloes’ first road game.
“We’re just hopeful that we can continue to play, to continue to stay healthy and move forward to Week 2 of the season,” Dorrell said.
Colorado kicker James Stefanou, who has battled injuries since coming to Boulder in 2017, retired after the UCLA game. He kicked five extra points in the win Saturday but was replaced by Evan Peters after missing two field-goal attempts.
Dorrell said Stefanou, who is from Australia and at 33 was the oldest player in the Football Bowl Subdivision, felt he couldn’t “physically perform as well as he would like.
“He has been a valuable member of the team for three years, and we understand why he has made this choice. We certainly wish him nothing but the best.”
–Field Level Media