Dec 12, 2020; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan (10) scrambles out of the pocket to pass against the Stanford Cardinal during the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford outlasts Oregon State, 27-24

Jet Toner’s 39-yard field goal with 1:48 left in the game was the difference in Stanford’s 27-24 win over Oregon State in a Pac-12 game at Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday night.

Stanford (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12) extended its winning streak over Oregon State (2-4, 2-4) to 11 games.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Stanford. However, COVID-19 restrictions in northern California have kept the Cardinal on the road the last two weeks.

Stanford’s Davis Mills completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 292 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Austin Jones rushed for 126 yards on 22 carries.

Chance Nolan of Oregon State completed 17 of 30 attempts for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

Nolan drove Oregon State into field goal territory but his fumble at the end of a 5-yard run was recovered by Caleb Robinson at the Stanford 16 to secure the win for the Cardinal.

Mills rushed for a 6-yard touchdown with 13:03 left in regulation and completed a 2-point conversion pass to Houston Heimuli to give Stanford a 24-21 lead.

The scoring run capped a 13-play, 90-yard drive that took 6:10.

Oregon State responded with its own 13-play scoring drive resulting in a 26-yard field goal by Everett Hayes with 7:18 left to tie the game at 24.

Stanford then drove 62 yards in 10 plays to set up Toner’s winning field goal.

Nolan’s two touchdown passes in the first half factored into Oregon State taking a 14-9 lead at halftime.

Nolan, who completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 157 yards in the first half, connected on scoring strikes of 18 yards to Tyjon Lindsey in the first quarter and 8 yards to Zeriah Beason in the second quarter.

The Cardinal cut the lead to 7-6 on Mills’ 12-yard touchdown pass to Tucker Fisk (a 2-point conversion pass failed) with 5:45 left in the first quarter.

With 1:16 remaining in the first half, Toner made a 47-yard field goal as Stanford cut the lead to 14-9.

Stanford opened the third quarter with a six-play, 71-yard drive resulting in a 1-yard scoring run by Mills that gave the Cardinal a 16-14 lead.

Oregon State answered on its next possession and took a 21-16 lead when Nolan completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Lindsey. The pass capped a nine-play and 75-yard drive with 8:38 left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Stanford Cardinal tight end Scooter Harrington (80) catches a touchdown against Washington Huskies defensive back Asa Turner (20) during the third quarter at Alaska Airlines Field  at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford shoots for 11th straight series win vs. Oregon State

Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith talked mostly about developments off the field during his weekly press conference heading into his team’s scheduled Saturday game against Stanford at Corvallis, Ore.

The Beavers (2-3, 2-3 Pac-12) have learned they will be without starting quarterback Tristan Gebbia the rest of the season because of a hamstring injury that requires surgery.

Chance Nolan has taken over the starting role after making his first start for the Beavers last Saturday in the 30-24 loss at Utah. True freshman Ben Gulbranson is the backup.

“It’s tough. I’ve got a bunch of respect for him because he’s gone through a lot,” Smith said of Gebbia, a junior whose performance sparked an upset of Oregon two weeks ago. “He continues to work hard. He’s a positive guy. He’s got a great mindset that he’ll be back here next year.”

Smith also announced redshirt junior quarterback Nick Moore has transferred because he was passed over by Nolan and Gulbranson. He also mentioned star tailback Jermar Jefferson and four other players may return this week after they were ruled out for the Utah game due to COVID-19 testing results and contact tracing protocols.

Stanford, coming off a 31-26 win at Washington, is attempting to build on its 10 consecutive wins over the Beavers.

The Cardinal (2-2, 2-2) were in Corvallis all week after spending most of last week at Seattle after the Santa Clara (Calif.) County Public Health Department prohibited contact sports through at least Dec. 21 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We always ask two questions: Should we and can we?” Stanford coach David Shaw said about the situation, which forced the Cardinal to give up its originally scheduled home game against Oregon State.

“The ‘should we?’ is always answered by the student-athletes. Should we continue to play? Do we find a way to play? Our student-athletes have worked extremely hard and been through a lot. They want to play.”

Shaw stressed the running game against Washington, as Austin Jones carried the ball 31 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinal ran the final 7:54 off the clock with a 14-play drive that was capped by Jones’ 3-yard run on fourth-and-1. Stanford was 10-for-13 on third downs and 2-for-2 on fourth down.

Davis Mills complemented the running game well, completing 20 of 30 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Oregon State rallied from a 30-10 deficit at Utah but came up short.

Avery Roberts logged 21 tackles, a career high for the redshirt junior linebacker. The single-game total tied the third-best mark in Oregon State history. Roberts surpassed Arkansas’ Bumper Pool for the most tackles in a game nationally this season. Pool had 20 stops against Mississippi State in October.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Austin Jones (20) rushes for a touchdown against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford holds off Washington despite second-half rally

Austin Jones rushed 31 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns against the Pacific-12 Conference’s top-ranked defense as Stanford upset No. 22 Washington 31-26 Saturday in Seattle.

Davis Mills completed 20 of 30 passes for 252 yards and a score for the Cardinal (2-2), who held on after building a 24-3 halftime lead.

The Huskies (3-1) nearly rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit for the second consecutive week, after defeating Utah 24-21 the previous Saturday at home.

Sean McGrew’s 2-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game, pulled Washington within 31-23 with 11:03 remaining.

The Huskies’ Trent McDuffie forced Jones to fumble near midfield on Stanford’s next possession and Edefuan Ulofoshio returned it 39 yards to the Stanford 10-yard line.

Two plays later, a touchdown pass from Dylan Morris to Ty Jones that could have tied the score with a two-point conversion with 9:59 left was called back by a holding penalty. Another holding call pushed Washington back to the 29-yard line before Peyton Henry’s 45-yard field goal made it 31-26 with 7:54 remaining.

The Huskies never got the ball back, as Jones helped the Cardinal run out the clock.

Stanford was 10 of 13 on third-down conversions and 2 for 2 on fourth down.

Morris completed 15 of 23 passes for 254 yards, without a touchdown or interception. McGrew rushed for a team-high 65 yards on 16 carries.

The Cardinal scored on their first five drives of the game, with four of those ending in touchdowns.

Jones scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yard in the first quarter to give Stanford a 14-0 lead.

After a Henry field goal, Nathaniel Peat scored on a 3-yard run and Jet Toner kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the half to make it 24-3.

Washington scored TDs on three straight drives in the second half to pull within 31-23. McGrew scored on rushes of 6 and 2 yards and Morris tallied a 1-yard TD sneak.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris (9) passes against the Utah Utes during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Washington vows to keep the focus on Stanford

Washington coach Jimmy Lake was asked if there’s any chance his undefeated Huskies, No. 22 in the College Football Playoff rankings, might be looking past Saturday’s opponent, the visiting Stanford Cardinal.

The Huskies, after all, have a game against No. 23 Oregon for first place in the Pacific-12 Conference’s North Division looming.

“The North, for the last six years, has been Stanford, Washington, Stanford, Washington for most of those years. I believe it’s four or five of the last six years. I’m sorry, but this is Stanford we’re talking about here. This is a powerhouse in the North Division. This is a huge game. This is a storied program that we have a lot of respect for, a big-time opponent. That thought is not going into one person in this whole building’s head. … This is a game that is a fistfight as well every single year, because of their style of play and our style of play. Stanford and Washington have run the North for years.”

The Ducks, who have played in three conference championship games since 2011 and won the title last year, might dispute that, but Lake’s point is that only the nomadic Cardinal matter this week.

Stanford (1-2, 1-2 Pac-12), which will spend the next two weeks in the Pacific Northwest because of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County in California, and Washington (3-0, 3-0) are both coming off emotional victories.

The Cardinal won the Big Game against Bay Area rival Cal 24-23 last Friday as Austin Jones ran for a pair of touchdowns, Davis Mills threw for 205 yards and a score, and Thomas Booker blocked the potential tying extra point with 58 seconds remaining to take back The Axe.

“We still didn’t play our best, but we needed to win a close game,” said Cardinal coach David Shaw, whose team’s game next weekend against Oregon State has already been moved to Corvallis, Ore. “We want to be a great football team, and we’re getting closer to good.”

The Huskies, who had their Apple Cup rivalry against Washington State canceled because of the Cougars’ coronavirus concerns, instead got an unscheduled matchup against Utah last Saturday.

The Utes took a 21-point halftime lead before the Huskies clawed back for a 24-21 victory on Dylan Morris’ 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cade Otton with 36 seconds left.

It was only the fifth time in program history the Huskies rallied from a deficit of 21 or more points to win, and it was the first since 1989.

“That was probably the first comeback I’ve ever been a part of,” said Huskies linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who had three sacks. “I just had to take in the moment.”

Morris, a first-year starter, was 23 of 38 for 272 yards and two touchdowns but threw three interceptions. He was 6 of 9 for 71 yards on the final drive, including a play on which the snap was botched but Morris recovered to complete a pass to Otton.

“That’s the type of calm that he has through adverse situations,” Lake said.

The Huskies hope to take advantage of a Stanford run defense that’s allowing a conference-worst 229.0 yards per game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills (15) passes against the Colorado Buffaloes during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford gets Mills at full speed against WSU

Imagine what Stanford quarterback Davis Mills could do with a full week of practice.

Two weeks ago, the senior was forced to watch the Cardinal’s season-opening, 35-14 loss at then-No. 12 Oregon from his hotel room because of what the Pac-12 Conference later acknowledged was a false positive COVID-19 reading due to testing protocol errors.

Mills wasn’t allowed to rejoin the team until the following Friday’s practice, and a day later went out and completed 31 of 56 passes for 327 yards and a touchdown, as well as throwing two 2-point conversions and rushing for 36 yards and a score in Stanford’s 35-32 loss to Colorado.

Mills has an entire week to prepare for Saturday’s home game against Washington State (1-1, 1-1).

“We don’t know how the Oregon game goes if he’s able to play,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We don’t know how (the Colorado) game goes if he’s able to practice all week. Those are things that are unknown.”

What is known is that Stanford is off to an 0-2 start, including 0-2 in the Pac-12.

“I think it was obvious that he was rusty,” Shaw said. “It’s unfortunate. I’m not happy about it, by any stretch of the imagination. Not much we could have done about it. But to say that it didn’t affect his performance, I think would be inaccurate. So hopefully we’ll play much better from here on out. We’re capable.”

Senior wideout Connor Wedington, who also missed the opener because of contact-tracing protocols stemming from Mills’ test, had a game-high eight catches for 77 yards and a 2-point conversion against Colorado. The Cardinal scored the game’s final 16 points, but still suffered their sixth straight loss dating to last season.

The Cougars are coming off a 43-29 home loss to Oregon after leading by 12 points late in the first half.

WSU freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura was 25 of 39 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

“He looked comfortable from beginning to end,” first-year Cougars coach Nick Rolovich said of de Laura, a native of Hawaii.

Blake Mazza’s 49-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the half gave the Cougars a 19-7 lead, but a lengthy kickoff return and a 57-yard pass put Oregon in position to score a touchdown and take the momentum into halftime.

“That took an emotional toll,” Rolovich admitted. “I stress being the last one to score before halftime.”

The Cougars, who opened with a 38-28 victory at Oregon State, have allowed 50 second-half points through two games.

“I don’t think we’re wearing down,” Rolovich said. “They’re playing their hearts out. … But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make big plays, we’ve got to execute better, we’ve got to coach better. I think that’s about the gist of it.”

Running back Max Borghi, a first-team, preseason all-conference selection, has missed the Cougars’ first two games with an apparent back injury and Rolovich indicated his return is not imminent. Deon McIntosh, a transfer from Notre Dame, has averaged 7 yards a carry through the first two games, totaling 239 yards and two touchdowns.

Cougars safety Ayden Hector, a former Stanford signee, was named the Pac-12’s Freshman Player of the Week after recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass — all in the first half — against the Ducks. De Laura received the honor the previous week.

The Cougars have won four consecutive games in the series against Stanford, including a 49-22 victory last season in Pullman, Wash.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Stanford, California, USA; Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Sam Noyer (4) throws a pass over Stanford Cardinal defensive end Thomas Booker (34) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado fends off Stanford behind Noyer’s 4 TDs

Sam Noyer threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a pair of scores to lead the visiting Colorado Buffaloes to a 35-32 win over the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday.

Dimitri Stanley had six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown, Jarek Broussard rushed for 121 yards, Jaren Mangham ran for a touchdown and Brenden Rice also had a TD catch for the Buffaloes (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12).

Noyer finished 15-for-24 passing.

Davis Mills returned to the lineup to go 31-for-56 passing for 327 yards and a touchdown and also had 36 yards rushing and a TD for the Cardinal (0-2, 0-2).

Austin Jones ran for a score, Scooter Harrington caught a touchdown pass, Connor Wedington had eight receptions for 77 yards and Michael Wilson caught six passes for 95 yards for Stanford.

Noyer got his first TD pass late in the first quarter when he connected with Stanley for a 55-yard scoring strike to give the Buffaloes a 7-3 lead.

Jet Toner, who earlier kicked a 48-yard field goal, hit another from 33 yards to cut the Cardinal’s deficit to a point but Colorado responded with Noyer’s seven-yard run to make it 14-6.

Stanford capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive with Toner’s third field goal of the game, this one from 28 yards out to bring the Cardinal within 14-9 at halftime.

The Buffaloes opened the second half with Noyer’s 10-yard TD run and then he hit Rice for a 34-yard TD pass and a 19-point lead.

Mills drove Stanford 82 yards and cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 28-16 with a two-yard run but Colorado answered with Mangham’s two-yard TD run on the second play of the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal came back with two touchdowns and a pair of 2-point conversions in a span of 6:11. Jones scored on a two-yard run and after a Buffaloes punt, Mills threw a one-yard TD pass to Harrington with 2:34 left to make it 35-32.

La’Vontae Shenault recovered Stanford’s onside-kick, and after a punt, the game ended on Stanford’s failed desperation play.

–Field Level Media

College Football: Week 2 Storylines

UCLA’s unforgettable comeback, (1) Alabama knocking off (3) Florida State, a nail-biter between West Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as the Big Ten thriving early. Week 1 of the 2017 college football season was excellent, and fortunately for those of us at home, we’re just getting started.
As we move into the second week of the collegiate season, there’s once again a bevy of intriguing storylines on schedule for you to keep a close eye on. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to this weekend:
(5) Oklahoma AT (2) Ohio State – September 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The Buckeyes went to Norman and throttled the Sooners on their home turf last season, 45-24. This year, Oklahoma is coming off a more convincing Week 1 offensive performance where Sr. quarterback Baker Mayfield was able to call it a day by halftime. Can OU’s young head coach Lincoln Riley vindicate last season’s bad loss in Columbus? We’ll see.

Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.
Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.

Ultimately, this game will come down to Oklahoma’s offense against Ohio State’s defense, where the former looked dominant while scoring 35 first-half points and the latter notched five sacks, two interceptions, and one fumble in week 1.
Baker Mayfield will be under heavy scrutiny all season from an NFL evaluation standpoint, as he’s lacking prototype size or ideal physical traits for the next level. However, a signature performance early on would generate a dose of positive momentum for the Austin, Texas native.
Conversely, Ohio State’s defensive edge trio of Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Nick Bosa are sure to leave a mark on the game. As well, true Fr. running back J.K. Dobbins has Buckeye fans excited after his 181-yard rushing effort in his college debut. Scouts and fans alike will want to get a look at him – he’s wearing No. 2.
(13) Auburn AT (3) Clemson – September 9, 7 p.m. ET
Dabo Swinney spoke highly of Auburn’s balance on both sides of the ball last season and War Eagle is unquestionably superior to its 2016 counterpart. While it’s not impossible for Gus Malzahn’s squad to win ten regular season games this year, it’d require a sizable upset in order to win a night game at Memorial Stadium this Saturday.
However, Auburn boasts a potentially elite running game featuring the trio of Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin, and Kamryn Pettway. Though Johnson is unlikely to suit up due to a hamstring injury, Pettway – last season’s bell cow – returns from suspension this week. Everyone’s favorite sleeper quarterback Jarrett Stidham will have to be a lot more effective this week if Auburn is to stand a chance of outscoring Clemson.
Clemson, last year’s national champion, has an enviable ground game itself with four players rushing for 50+ yards and at least one touchdown against Kent State in week 1. Oh, and the Tigers also completed passes to 15 different receivers as well.
Get ready for a lot of offense. Slam the over on this one.
(14) Stanford AT (6) USC – September 9, 8:30 p.m. ET
“It’s one of those dates you mark on your calendar because you know it’s going to impact your season,” said USC head coach Clay Helton of this tie.
Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.
Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.

We may be getting an early preview of the Pac-12 title game here and the contest is likely to be a tale of two star rushers. USC Jr. Ronald Jones II took charge offensively against Western Michigan in week 1 as his quarterback, Sam Darnold, failed to settle into the game. Meanwhile, Cardinal Jr. Bryce Love stepped in nobly in the wake of Christian McCaffrey as Stanford routed Rice in Australia.
As eluded to, Trojan Jr. quarterback Sam Darnold was porous in his season debut, but can quickly extirpate all negativity with a strong game this weekend. Though Josh Rosen carries the lion’s share of the pro buzz after UCLA’s come back, Darnold is still favored by many to be selected No. 1 overall in next year’s draft.
I’m expecting a tight game with a fun conclusion, and it’s possible that this won’t be the last time we see these two teams lock horns in 2017.
Quick Hits…
• (15) Georgia travels to South Bend to take on newly minted top twenty-five ranked (24) Notre Dame, but will do so with true Fr. Jake Fromm under center. Starter Jacob Eason sprained his knee against Appalachian State before Fromm entered and led Georgia on three consecutive touchdown drives. Gametime at 7:30 p.m. ET.
• (20) Washington State looks to avenge last season’s loss to unranked Boise State on September 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Get a good look at the Cougars’ interesting pro prospect Luke Falk, as he’s 101 passing yards away from breaking the school’s career passing record.
• Don’t forget, (16) Miami FL vs. Arkansas State has been canceled outright due to Hurricane Irma despite the game being staged in Jonesboro. ‘Canes athletic director Blake James confirmed it will NOT be replayed at a later date.