Sep 30, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal tight end Benjamin Yurosek (84) warms up before the game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Stanford TE Benjamin Yurosek commits to Georgia

Former Stanford tight end Benjamin Yurosek confirmed Friday he is transferring to Georgia.

The 6-foot-4, 242-pound senior caught 108 passes for 1,342 yards and five touchdowns as a three-year starter for the Cardinal from 2021-23.

Yurosek told ESPN he was attracted to Georgia because of the competition in the Southeastern Conference and for the way the Bulldogs deploy their tight ends.

“Obviously Georgia has the best of both worlds,” Yurosek said. “They have big-time football and the use of tight ends.”

He will help the Bulldogs replace All-American Brock Bowers, regarded as the top tight end in the 2024 NFL Draft class.

Yurosek is finishing his undergraduate degree at Stanford this quarter before enrolling at Georgia.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Audric Estim   (7) breaks free for another touchdown run against the Stanford Cardinal during the third quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Audric Esteme (4 TDs), No. 18 Notre Dame pound Stanford

Audric Estime rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 18 Notre Dame to a 56-23 win against Stanford in the regular-season finale on Saturday evening in Palo Alto, Calif.

Estime has 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, breaking the single-season school record.

Sam Hartman passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns for Notre Dame (9-3), which has won four of five.

Stanford quarterback Asthton Daniels completed 15 of 25 passes for 152 yards and an interception.

Justin Lamson rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinal (3-9).

Both teams traded leads early on.

Joshua Karty booted his third field goal of the first half, a 56-yarder, to move the Cardinal back ahead 16-14 with 8:57 left before halftime.

Notre Dame followed with its second 10-play, 75-yard drive of the first half. This one was also capped by a touchdown run by Estime, a 6-yarder that moved the Fighting Irish in front 21-16 with 3:53 remaining in the half.

Notre Dame then intercepted a pass and marched to the 3-yard line with 22 seconds remaining.

Gi’Bran Payne took a handoff and reached for the goal line, losing the ball as his hand hit the turf. The ball was recovered by Stanford and initially ruled a fumble, but after a reply review it was determined Payne had broken the goal line, resulting in a touchdown and a 28-16 lead at the break.

The second half belonged to the Fighting Irish, who scored touchdowns on their first three drives.

Estime scampered into the end zone on a 5-yard run to make it 35-16, Hartman hit Jordan Faison on a 45-yard strike for a 42-16 lead and Estime scored on a 25-yard run to extend it to 49-16.

Notre Dame’s special teams also contributed, as Javontae Jean-Baptiste returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for a touchdown.

Lamson scored on a 4-yard run with 7:16 left to trim the lead to 56-23.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman celebrates with safety Xavier Watts (0) after Watts intercepted a pass in the first quarter against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford trip affords Notre Dame get-right game on the road

The road has been an unfriendly place for Notre Dame in 2023.

The 18th-ranked Fighting Irish try to close the regular season on a high note when they visit Stanford on Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif.

Notre Dame (8-3) began the season ranked No. 13 and climbed as high as No. 9 after winning its first four games. A loss at home the following week to then-No. 6 Ohio State only dropped the Fighting Irish two spots, but it was the losses over the next six weeks at Louisville and Clemson that completely soured their chances for a berth in the College Football Playoff.

“You look at the Clemson game, look at the Louisville game, and we haven’t performed to our standard on the road,” Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman said. “As I told the coaches, I don’t want to make this only a road issue, but we haven’t performed to our standards.”

Getting off to a quick start against Stanford was stressed by Freeman this week in South Bend.

The Fighting Irish scored just seven points in the first half against Louisville, losing 33-20. They managed just three field goals in the first half against Clemson in a 31-23 loss.

“We’ve got to start better,” Freeman said. “From the first play of the game, have the mentality that we’re going to have to go out there and win the interval on this play. We can’t lose it in any game.”

The Fighting Irish stood tall in their most recent performance, picking apart Wake Forest by rolling up 450 yards of total offense in the 45-7 victory.

Sam Hartman bounced back from a couple rocky outings to throw for 277 yards and four touchdowns while playing turnover-free against his former team.

Audric Estime rushed for 115 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown in his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

While Notre Dame isn’t out of the mix for a big-ticket bowl game, Stanford (3-8) is mired in a dramatic downturn with little to celebrate this season. To date, the biggest achievements from the season are an improbable 46-43 double-overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 13 and a narrow 10-7 win at Washington State on Nov. 4.

There have been individual bright spots for the Cardinal. Quarterback Ashton Daniels has 2,095 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also leading the team in rushing.

Elic Ayomanor is 45 receiving yards away from becoming the first 1,000-yard receiver for Stanford since J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in 2018.

The Cardinal received some good news on Monday when linebacker Tristan Sinclair won his targeting appeal after getting ejected in a 27-15 loss to Cal last weekend, meaning he won’t have to sit out the first half against Notre Dame.

“He’s our rock, you know. Not just on defense, probably the whole team,” Stanford coach Troy Taylor said. “He’s just our emotional leader. He cares so much, does everything the right way. We can always count on him.”

Although the Cardinal and Fighting Irish have seen their seasons go in different directions, there should be no lack of emotion on Saturday.

“It’s an unbelievable rivalry,” Freeman said. “As you look at both of our institutions — the values we have in terms of student-athlete experience, the educational values that both universities provide — it’s a great rivalry that we’re going to try to continue to have as long as we can.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; California Golden Bears running back Jaydn Ott (1) runs with the football against Stanford Cardinal linebacker David Bailey (23) during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Big Game goes Cal’s way in victory over Stanford

Fernando Mendoza threw three touchdown passes, Jaydn Ott rushed for 166 yards and a score, and visiting California retained “The Axe” in its annual Big Game against Stanford with a 27-15 victory Saturday in the rivals’ final Pac-12 meeting.

Trond Grizzell caught two touchdown passes in the first half and Jeremiah Hunter hauled in a clincher with 10:19 to go as the Golden Bears (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12) remained alive for bowl eligibility with one game remaining: Nov. 25 at UCLA.

Ashton Daniels passed for 188 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a team-high 68 yards for the Cardinal (3-8, 2-7), who completed their Pac-12 schedule. Stanford ends its season at home against Notre Dame next week.

Cal led just 21-15 after Stanford’s Joshua Karty connected on his third field goal of the game, a 50-yarder, with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

But the Golden Bears then drove 75 yards in 13 plays, capped by Mendoza’s 8-yard scoring connection with Hunter.

Mendoza finished 24-for-36 for 294 yards with one interception. Grizzell made seven catches for 136 yards.

Ott, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, had his fifth 150-plus-yard game of the season. His touchdown came on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter.

Tiger Bachmeier caught Daniels’ lone scoring pass, a 41-yarder, later in the third quarter for the Cardinal, who never led.

Karty’s other field goals covered 44 and 53 yards.

Grizzell’s touchdown catches came from 9 yards out in the first quarter to open the scoring, then 54 yards in the second minute of the second period, giving Cal a 14-3 lead.

Stanford countered Cal’s first two scores with two of Karty’s field goals to hang within 14-6 at halftime.

With 161 yards on the ground and 294 through the air, Cal finished with a 455-290 dominance in total yards and 29-12 edge in first downs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Deshaun Fenwick (1) jumps over Stanford Cardinal corner back Terian Williams (29) during the second half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State demolishes Stanford, 62-17

Damian Martinez ran for four first half touchdowns and DJ Uiagaleiei threw for 240 yards as No. 12 Oregon State walloped Stanford 62-17 in a Pac-12 mismatch on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.

Martinez, who rushed for 146 yards on just 15 carries, scored on runs of 7, 59, 15 and 5 yards as the Beavers improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. Uiagaleiei completed 12 of 19 passes in an efficient performance, finding Jermaine Terry and Deshaun Fenwick for touchdown strikes of 40 and 13 yards, respectively.

Stanford (3-7, 2-6) upset Washington State last week and nearly upset Washington last month but was no match for Oregon State’s physicality on both sides of the ball. The Cardinal didn’t help itself by tossing four interceptions, leading to 21 points for the Beavers.

Quarterback Ashton Daniels completed 10 of 16 attempts for 200 yards and a 75-yard touchdown to Elic Ayomanor but also mixed in three interceptions. The Cardinal were outgained 598-324.

Martinez started the carnage with scoring runs of 7 and 59 yards in the first 10 minutes. Daniels answered for Stanford with a 7-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 14-7.

That was as good as it got for the Cardinal. Oregon State rung up 20 second quarter points on a 15-yard run by Martinez, Uiagaleiei’s touchdown connection with Terry and Martinez’s fourth scoring jaunt with 15 seconds left in the half that gave it a 34-10 halftime lead.

The Beavers kept executing and scoring at will in the third quarter. Uiagaleiei capped a touchdown drive of nearly seven minutes with his scoring strike to Fenwick, followed by a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Aidan Chiles and a 37-yard scoring run by Fenwick to make it 55-10 with 1:43 left.

Oregon State, which started pulling starters midway through the third quarter, averaged a whopping 8.8 yards per play. Chiles added a 28-yard touchdown pass to Riley Sharp with 5:54 left in the game.
–Field Level Media

Oregon State Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) prepares to throw a pass during the second half of the game against the UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.

No. 12 Oregon St., facing Stanford, aims to stay in Pac-12 race

The addition of Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei at quarterback made No. 12 Oregon State a trendy pick to contend for the Pac-12 Conference title this season.

And while the Beavers are still in the hunt with three weeks remaining, the offense’s focus has shifted as the year’s progressed. Uiagalelei’s big right arm is still an important part of the game plan, but Oregon State has made more use of a power running game behind Damien Martinez.

When the Beavers welcome conference foe Stanford to Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Martinez figures to get about 20 more chances to add to an already-glowing career resume.

In a 26-19 win at Colorado last week, Martinez chewed up 115 yards for his fourth 100-yard performance of the year, putting him 122 yards away from the 18th 1,000-yard season in program history. It was also the 10th 100-yard game in his career.

“We’ll always want to be able to run the ball, make it physical,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said.

Martinez added, “We knew that they hadn’t played a team as physical as us.”

The difference in the teams’ running games couldn’t have been starker in Boulder. While the Beavers (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) finished with 195 yards on 46 attempts and hogged the ball for nearly 36 minutes, Colorado rushed 19 times for minus-7 yards and mostly gave up on that part of the attack.

With conference leaders Washington and Oregon remaining on the schedule, Oregon State can still climb the Pac-12 standings — and the bowl ladder. Even with a win over the Huskies on Nov. 18, however, the Beavers would need Washington to lose again for a shot at the top spot in the regular-season standings. The Beavers face the Ducks in the Civil War game in Eugene, Ore., to end the regular season on Nov. 24.

There appear to be no carrots of that size to keep motivating Stanford, but first-year coach Troy Taylor still has his team playing hard. Just ask Washington State, which ate a stunning 10-7 loss last week, a result that kept the Cardinal’s slim bowl hopes alive.

The Cardinal (3-6, 2-5) made their last trip to Pullman, Wash., — Stanford will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference starting next year — a memorable one. They held the Cougars to 57 yards and five first downs in the second half, allowing the Cardinal to overcome their lack of firepower on a soggy day.

“It was a spectacular night for the defense,” Taylor said. “They have had some tough games, but this is one of the best defensive performances I’ve been part of.”

Stanford could be riding a 3-1 run with a 42-7 loss to UCLA on Oct. 21 the lone blemish. The Cardinal scared No. 5 Washington two weeks ago, climbing within two points in the fourth quarter before losing 42-33. Stanford erased a 29-0 halftime deficit in a 46-43 double overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 13.

It’s the continuation of a four-season trend that has seen the Cardinal go 10-10 on the road and a miserable 3-15 at home.

“You’re always turning that over and trying to figure out if there’s something you can do differently,” Taylor said.

Stanford leads the all-time series against Oregon State 59-27-3, although the Cardinal dropped a 28-27 home decision last year.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Ashton Daniels (14) throws a pass against Washington State Cougars defensive end Brennan Jackson (80) in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford sneaks by Washington St. in low-scoring affair

Joshua Karty’s 31-yard field goal with 5:56 remaining served as the game-winner as Stanford beat Washington State 10-7 on Saturday night in Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) have lost five consecutive games.

Stanford (3-6, 2-5) has achieved all of its wins this season on the road.

The only sustained scoring drive in the game was engineered by Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, whose 9-yard scoring strike to Josh Kelly culminated an 80-yard drive with 6:18 left in the second quarter.

Washington State took the 7-0 lead into halftime.

Stanford turned an interception by Scotty Edwards in the third quarter into its first and only touchdown.

The Cardinal drove 53 yards after Edwards’ pick for the score, a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Justin Lamson.

Lamson is a backup to Ashton Daniels, who returned to the game later in the third quarter and threw an interception.

Daniels passed for 115 yards on 15-of-31 passing.

Lamson, who rushed for 54 yards and completed his only passing attempt for 27 yards, and Daniels shuffled quarterback responsibilities the rest of the game.

Stanford took its 10-7 lead when it ended a 12-play, 61-yard march with the 31-yard field goal by Karty. The Cougars then went three-and-out.

On the Cardinal’s next possession, Lamson converted a first down on fourth-and-1 at the Stanford 47 with 2:32 left.

Lamson ran up the middle for the game-clinching first down. Washington State was out of timeouts and was unable to stop the clock afterward.

The low-scoring game belied how each team struggled defensively entering Saturday.

Washington State was ranked 120th nationally in total defense, allowing 446 yards per game, while Stanford was 126th (465.1 yards per game).

Washington State had allowed an average of 36.3 points during its four-game losing streak, its longest skid since 2014. Opponents had rushed for at least 158 yards against the Cougars in six straight games, but the Cardinal mustered only 75 yards on the ground.

Ward completed 24 of 40 passes for 241 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Ashton Daniels (14) throws the ball against the Southern California Trojans in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ACC unveils schedule model with Cal, Stanford, SMU additions

The Atlantic Coast Conference released its football scheduling model for the next seven years Monday, incorporating the upcoming additions of Cal, Stanford and SMU.

All teams will play each other at least twice in the first seven seasons after the ACC grows to 17 members. Amid the inclusion of two West Coast programs, no team will travel to California in back-to-back seasons.

Not every school has the same number of protected rivalry games. Georgia Tech and Louisville have none at all, while some programs have as many as three. Cal, Stanford and SMU all have one another as protected rivals, and geography was emphasized for the others.

It is unclear what will become of Notre Dame’s annual set of games against ACC schools, including its rivalry series with Stanford. Those games will be determined at a later date, according to the league.

The 16 protected games that will take place every year are:
–Boston College-Syracuse
–Boston College-Pitt
–Syracuse-Pitt
–North Carolina-Virginia
–North Carolina-Duke
–North Carolina-NC State
–NC State-Wake Forest
–NC State-Duke
–Duke-Wake Forest
–Virginia Tech-Virginia
–Florida State-Clemson
–Miami-Florida State
–Miami-Virginia Tech
–Stanford-Cal
–Stanford-SMU
–Cal-SMU

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Ashton Daniels (14) scrambles away from defensive pressure by Washington Huskies edge rusher Maurice Heims (45) and linebacker Carson Bruener (42) during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Washington staves off pesky Stanford, 42-33

No. 5 Washington recorded its fourth straight single-digit win, escaping with a 42-33 defeat of host Stanford on Saturday in Stanford, Calif.

The Huskies (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) got 369 yards on 21-of-38 passing and four touchdowns from Michael Penix Jr., who repeatedly answered scores from the Cardinal.

Stanford (2-6, 1-5) began its rally from a 21-7 first-half deficit when Joshua Karty connected on field goals of 23 and 47 yards, made just 65 seconds apart before intermission.

The Cardinal then took their first possession of the second half 68 yards in four plays, culminating in Ashton Daniels’ 39-yard scoring connection with Elic Ayomanor.

Penix, who threw first-half touchdowns of seven yards to Rome Odunze and 92 yards to Ja’Lynn Polk, pushed the Washington lead back to two possessions with a 10-yard strike to Polk.

Polk finished with 148 yards on five catches and the two scores for the Huskies. Odunze hauled in six receptions for 89 yards.

Stanford pulled within two again when Daniels capped a 75-yard drive with a goal-line touchdown carry. Penix replied with a 24-yard scoring throw to Devin Culp for a 35-26 lead. The Cardinals cut it two again on Justin Lamson’s 2-yard plunge.

Zahran Manley’s interception of Penix in the end zone gave Stanford possession with 5:05 remaining and trailing 35-33, but the Cardinal could not capitalize. Washington regained possession when, on fourth down, Stanford running back Tiger Bachmeier passed out of a sweep pitch. An open Jayson Raines could not make the catch.

The Huskies put the game away on the ensuing drive with Dillon Johnson’s 13-yard run to the end zone.

Johnson led Washington with 84 yards rushing on 18 carries. Daniels paced Stanford with 85 yards on 18 carries and two scores, the other coming from five yards out in the second quarter.

Daniels went 31-of-50 passing for 367 yards in the loss.

The nine-point margin of victory was Washington’s widest over a stretch in which the Huskies beat Arizona by seven, Oregon by three and Arizona State by eight in the preceding three contests.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) reacts after a touchdown by running back Carson Steele (not shown) during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Ethan Garbers, No. 25 UCLA blast Stanford

Ethan Garbers made his first start since the season opener and threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns to help No. 25 UCLA to a 42-7 win against host Stanford in a Pac-12 game on Saturday night.

Garbers completed 20 of 28 passes with no turnovers. The junior also rushed for 51 yards on eight carries.

Carson Steele led the ground attack with 76 yards and three touchdowns, and T.J. Harden contributed 55 rushing yards and a touchdown for UCLA (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12), which was coming off three straight games against ranked opponents in its conference, losing two.

Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels completed 27 of 45 passes for 268 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Cardinal (2-5, 1-4) were held to 24 rushing yards.

Garbers went 4-for-4 for 33 yards on the opening drive of the game and also rushed twice for 23 yards before Steele scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead.

Steele capped UCLA’s second possession with an 8-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-0.

Not long after the Bruins held Stanford without a first down on its first two drives, Garbers directed a 15-play, 97-yard drive that was capped by Steele’s third touchdown run of the first half, a 3-yarder that made it 21-0 with 5:27 to play until the break.

The Bruins stopped Stanford on fourth down on its first two drives of the second half before moving ahead 28-0 on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garbers to J. Michael Sturdivant with 6:47 left in the third quarter.

A partially blocked punt gave the Bruins good field position at the Stanford 29, and they took advantage with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Garbers to Moliki Matavao with 4:56 left in the third.

Stanford finally got on the scoreboard when Daniels hit Tiger Bachmeier with a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut it to 35-7 with 3:11 left in the third.

UCLA got the points back when Harden scored on a 22-yard run to make it 42-7 with 14:28 left in the game.

Dante Moore, who had started the past five games with limited success for UCLA, relieved Garbers with about 10 minutes remaining and played one series.

–Field Level Media