Sep 24, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) passes against the Stanford Cardinal during the first quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 Washington notches 8 sacks in mauling of Stanford

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr., wide receiver Rome Odunze and running back Wayne Taulapapa had big games for No. 18 Washington in the Huskies’ 40-22 win over visiting Stanford on Saturday night in Seattle.

Penix completed 22 of 37 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Odunze had eight catches for 161 yards with a touchdown, and Taulapapa had 13 carries for 120 yards, including a touchdown run.

The Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) totaled 478 yards of offense. They have scored at least 39 points in each of their first four games this season.

Washington sacked Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee eight times, the most for the Huskies in a game since the 2017 season. Washington equaled its win total from last season, when it went 4-8.

The game was delayed in the fourth quarter due to a drone flying over the stadium. After a few minutes of hovering, the device flew away.

That didn’t help the Cardinal, who were already behind 25 points at the time.

Stanford (1-2, 0-2) scored a late touchdown to make it a more respectable final score. McKee finished 17 for 26 for 286 yards, with three touchdown passes and an interception.

Casey Filkins rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries for Stanford, taking the place of the absent E.J. Smith due to an undisclosed health-related matter. Wide receiver Michael Wilson caught two touchdowns for Stanford, one for 23 yards in the second quarter and the other for 78 yards with 1:45 to play.

Washington scored the first 17 points of the game and held a 17-7 lead at halftime. Taulapapa ran 34 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.

Odunze was wide open for a pass from Penix that went 30 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter, giving the Huskies a 27-7 lead.

Stanford got as close as 15 points before Giles Jackson took a short pass from Penix and scooted upfield and into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 27, 2018; Stanford, CA, USA; General view of the Stanford Cardinal helmet during the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford OL Branson Bragg retires, citing concussion

Stanford offensive lineman Branson Bragg has retired from football due to the effects from a concussion.

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound senior from Texas announced his decision Monday on Twitter.

“This was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but with long-term lingering and intense symptoms from a severe concussion I sustained in training camp, along with other mental health factors, I’m confident that stepping away is the best decision for me,” Bragg wrote.

Bragg started six games in 2020 and nine games in 2021, moving between right guard and right tackle. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors from the league’s coaches last season.

Bragg added that he is on track to graduate on time with a bachelor’s degree in mathematical and computational science.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Stanford, California, USA;  USC Trojans wide receiver Tahj Washington (16) and running back Travis Dye (26) celebrate during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Strong first half propels No. 10 USC to win over Stanford

Tenth-ranked Southern Cal capitalized on four turnovers and built a 27-point cushion, which was enough to endure a sluggish second half in a 41-28 win over host Stanford on Saturday.

The Trojans (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12 Conference) scored touchdowns on all five of their first-half possessions, four coming on Caleb Williams passes. Williams hooked up with Jordan Addison for two of those scores, including a 75-yarder.

Williams finished 20-of-27 passing for 341 yards in the league opener for both teams.

Addison hauled in seven receptions for 172 yards to lead USC, while Mario Williams added four catches for 74 yards and a 15-yard scoring reception. Tight end Lake McRee got the Trojans’ early scoring deluge started with a five-yard touchdown catch.

USC took advantage as three of Stanford’s first four possession ended with turnovers. Max Williams intercepted Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee, Max Williams also forced an E.J. Smith fumble at the goal line, and Mekhi Blackmon picked off a pass in the end zone.

USC led 35-14 at the half.

The Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) never recovered from their three unsuccessful trips into the red zone and fell behind 41-14 late in the third quarter.

Stanford shut down the USC offense after intermission, however, allowing only two Denis Lynch field goals in the second half.

Stanford gained 441 yards of offense with an almost 50-50 split of 220 McKee passing yards and 221 rushing yards, paced by Smith’s 88. Smith rushed for a touchdown and Casey Filkins, who carried for 77 yards, added another.

McKee rushed for one touchdown and passed for another to Smith. Stanford converted 33 first downs to USC’s 24, but the Trojans outgained the Cardinal, with 505 yards.

Travis Dye rushed for 105 yards and scored a touchdown for USC. Stanford transfer Austin Jones added 38 yards on eight carries.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Stanford, California, USA;  Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Michael Wilson (4) catches the ball for a touchdown over Colgate Raiders defensive back Asauni Allen (7) during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford overcomes 4 turnovers in rout of Colgate

E.J. Smith dashed 87 yards on Stanford’s first play from scrimmage, Tanner McKee threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cardinal held visiting Colgate without an offensive touchdown in a 41-10 season-opening victory Saturday night.

Smith, a junior who is the son of longtime Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith, needed just 11 carries to amass a game-high 118 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinal. The 118 yards were just 15 fewer than Smith’s season total last year, when he had just one touchdown.

En route to the second 300-yard passing game of his career, McKee went 22-for-27 with one interception. Both TD passes went to wideout Michael Wilson, a 26-yarder that gave Stanford the lead for good with 12:49 remaining in the first half and a 13-yarder that made it a 28-7 game at halftime.

Smith’s other score came on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.

Casey Filkins’ 1-yard plunge in the first minute of the final period and backup quarterback Ari Patu’s 7-yard TD strike to Mudia Reuben with 3:15 left in the game completed Stanford’s scoring.

The Cardinal outgained the Raiders 497-218, allowing them to overcome four turnovers, including three fumbles.

One of the fumbles produced Colgate’s only TD when Asauni Allen fell on a muffed punt in the end zone, temporarily pulling the visitors from New York into a 7-7 tie early in the second period.

Spencer Biscoe’s 25-yard field goal provided the only scoring of the third quarter and accounted for Colgate’s lone points of the second half.

Raiders quarterback Michael Brescia went 9-for-19 for 57 yards with one interception. H added 43 yards on 13 rushes for the Raiders, who were playing a Pacific-12 Conference opponent for the first time in school history.

Max Hurleman was Colgate’s leading rusher, with 65 yards on 12 carries.

Stanford has a showdown with Pacific-12 Conference rival Southern Cal next week.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola (57) celebrates with defensive lineman Justin Ademilola (9) after a sack during the third quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Notre Dame stomps Stanford in final Playoff audition

Notre Dame did its part to remain in the College Football Playoff discussion Saturday night as Jack Coan threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns to lead the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish past host Stanford 45-14 in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Notre Dame’s seventh straight win, all against unranked opponents, put the Fighting Irish (11-1) in position to possibly move up in the penultimate rankings that will be released Tuesday. One of the five teams ahead of Notre Dame in the current rankings — No. 2 Ohio State — was beaten by fifth-ranked Michigan on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish’s only loss came at home against fourth-ranked Cincinnati in October.

Notre Dame wasted no time seizing the upper hand against Stanford (3-9, 2-7 Pac-12), driving 74 yards in five plays for a touchdown just 5:21 into the game. Coan connected with Braden Lenzy from 16 yards out for the score.

The Fighting Irish made it a rout before halftime, with Coan throwing 2 yards to George Takacs for a score and Kyren Williams running 1 yard for another, bookending a 36-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer.

Down 24-0 at the half and seeking to end a six-game losing streak, Stanford got on the scoreboard on a 5-yard run by Austin Jones in the second minute of the third period. Jonathan McGill’s interception and 23-yard return to the Notre Dame 13 set up the score.

Two plays after Stanford’s score, however, Coan found Kevin Austin Jr. for a 61-yard completion to the Stanford 2, setting up the quarterback’s own 1-yard plunge for a 31-7 lead.

Stanford’s other TD came on a 49-yard Tanner McKee hook-up with Benjamin Yurosek with 11:44 to play. The score came in between two Notre Dame rushing scores, one from Tyler Buchner from 33 yards and the other by Williams from 12 yards with 58 seconds left.

Coan’s 300-yard game was his second of the season. He threw for a season-best 366 yards and four TDs in the season opener at Florida State.

Austin was the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 125 yards, while Michael Mayer hauled in nine balls for 105 for the Irish.

Williams finished with a game-high 74 rushing yards on 19 carries and Buchner added 56 on three carries — each player outgaining the Cardinal (55 yards on 22 carries) single-handedly.

McKee went 20-for-25 for 172 yards and the one score. He did not throw an interception.

Yurosek totaled 87 yards on five catches for Stanford, which was outgained 509-227.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leads players onto the field before the game against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Notre Dame cautious of upset potential vs. rival Stanford

Stanford will attempt to end its season by denying No. 6 Notre Dame an opportunity to reach the College Football Playoff when the host Cardinal bid to upset the Fighting Irish on Saturday night.

Coming off a 41-11 drubbing at home in its annual Big Game against rival California, the Cardinal (3-8) will be seeking a seventh win over a ranked Notre Dame team in the 35th edition of the rivalry.

Stanford was in a similar situation, albeit it as the 13th-ranked team in the country, when it knocked the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish out of the national championship picture with a 38-36 win on the Cardinal’s field in 2015.

Surely, a Stanford upset would be a much more surprising outcome six years later, with Notre Dame (10-1) possibly a win away from landing one of the four coveted spots in the playoff.

Notre Dame’s chances of moving up from sixth are equally dependent upon at least two teams ahead of it losing, and that’s assured before season’s end.

No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan also duel on Saturday eight hours before Notre Dame-Stanford. Then, next week, No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama are set to meet in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The Notre Dame game plan remains the same — win convincingly and let the chips fall where they may.

Senior cornerback TaRiq Bracy, who grew up just east of Stanford in Milpitas, Calif., is fully aware of the Cardinal’s history against Notre Dame and the significance of what a season-ending headline-grabber would mean to the Stanford program.

“I’ve got a bunch of family and friends texting me excited,” Bracy said. “You have to take each week as a new opponent and a new challenge. You know I have the utmost respect for Stanford and I’m just getting ready to play.”

Notre Dame has solidified its position in the playoff chase with six straight wins, the last three by 34-6, 28-3 and 55-0 counts.

Stanford, on the other hand, has lost six straight and been on the wrong end of similar scores in its last three outings — losing 52-7, 35-14 and 41-11.

Cardinal coach David Shaw believes Notre Dame is coming to town at just the right time for his team, which could use an injection of energy at the end of a losing season.

“Hopefully the Golden Domers bring out the best in our football team, and for the first time in over a month we see the best of Stanford football,” he noted. “Notre Dame is a rival, and we’ve fared well against them over the last decade-plus. I don’t need to have any rah-rah speeches this week.”

Stanford returned quarterback Tanner McKee from injury last week, and while his 239 yards on 26-for-44 might have looked impressive, it was outweighed by a 2-to-0 interception-to-touchdown ratio.

The Cardinal are already assured of a third consecutive season without a bowl. They had gotten invitations in each of the previous 10 years under Shaw and Jim Harbaugh, winning six of those games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Stanford, California, USA;  California Golden Bears wide receiver Nikko Remigio (4) attempts to run past Stanford Cardinal safety Jonathan McGill (2) during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Cal runs up 636 yards in Big Game rout of Stanford

Trevon Clark turned a short pass from Chase Garbers into a rivalry-record, 84-yard touchdown Saturday afternoon as California used big plays to roll past host Stanford 41-11 in the 124th rendition of the Big Game.

Garbers passed for 246 yards and two scores, Christopher Brooks ran 13 times for 131 yards and Clark totaled 135 yards on three receptions in the Pacific-12 Conference affair for the Golden Bears, who won at Stanford for the second time in three years.

Cal ran up a Big Game-record 636 total yards, aided by a non-scoring 75-yard run by Brooks and a 76-yard TD scamper by Marcel Dancy in the third quarter.

The Golden Bears (4-6, 3-4 Pac-12), who remained bowl-eligible with the win, also scored on a 1-yard TD pass from Garbers to Brooks in the first quarter, a 2-yard run by Dancy early in the fourth period, a 5-yard run by Chris Street with 5:00 remaining in the game and Dario Longhetto field goals of 24 and 34 yards.

Dancy just missed a 100-yard rushing game with 92 yards on just four carries.

Garbers finished 17-for-26 with one interception. He also ran seven times for 59 yards.

Cal rushed for 352 yards and had 284 passing.

Tanner McKee passed for 234 yards on 27-for-44 passing with two interceptions for Stanford (3-8, 2-7), which completes its season next week at home against Notre Dame.

Austin Jones had Stanford’s only touchdown on a 1-yard plunge early in the final period after the Cardinal had already fallen behind 27-3. Joshua Karty added a 32-yard field goal for Stanford.

Stanford’s Michael Wilson led all pass-catchers with seven that went for 73 yards. Jones was the Cardinal’s leading rusher with 28 yards on 10 attempts.

Garbers’ record-breaking connection with Clark came 2:53 into the second quarter.

Cal had suffered a fumble and an interception on its first two possessions. But each time, Stanford failed to capitalize on goal-to-go situations, turning the ball over on downs both times as the game remained scoreless.

Despite the loss, Stanford retained a 65-48-11 advantage in the all-time series.

–Field Level Media

November 27, 2020; Berkeley, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal players celebrate with The Stanford Axe after the game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Big Game arrives amid bad seasons for Cal, Stanford

Quarterback Chase Garbers looks for a second career win over rival Stanford when he leads visiting California into the annual Big Game among the San Francisco Bay Area’s two Pac-12 Conference football programs on Saturday afternoon.

The schools, separated by a bridge and just 35 miles, have alternated wins and losses the last three seasons. Stanford held on for a 24-23 victory at Cal last November when the Golden Bears missed a PAT after a touchdown with 58 seconds remaining.

That game pitted Garbers against Stanford’s Davis Mills, who has since graduated to the NFL’s Houston Texans.

The Cardinal’s quarterback situation has become a mess in the 10 games since, with opening-day backup Tanner McKee having quickly seized the starting job, only to come away with an undisclosed injury to his left leg in a home loss to Washington last month.

Jack West, Ari Patu and Dylan Plautz have shared the duties in the last two contests, in which Stanford (3-7, 2-6 Pac-12) was blown out by Utah and Oregon State.

The Cardinal totaled just 94 passing yards with two interceptions in last week’s 35-14 loss at Oregon State.

The good news for Stanford, which enters the Big Game on a five-game losing streak, is that McKee appears ready to return from his two-game absence.

“Having some guys back I think will help a lot this week,” Stanford coach David Shaw said, adding cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly and linebacker Ricky Miezan to the list of potential key returners headed by McKee.

“Right now it’s not about any of the previous games. It’s not about next week. It’s about rivalry week and that’s what these guys are focused on, trying to keep the Axe.”

Cal (3-6, 2-4 Pac-12) has had no such problems at the quarterback position, with Garbers ranking sixth in the Pac-12 in passing yards despite having played one or two fewer games than the five guys ahead of him on the list.

Cal’s contest last week against Southern California had to be rescheduled because of COVID issues among the Golden Bears. Cal was seriously undermanned, including the absence of Garbers, when it lost 10-3 the previous week at Arizona.

Cal offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave expects a big performance from Garbers this week despite the fact he hasn’t played since Oct. 30, when he threw for a season-best three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth in a win over Oregon State.

“I feel like we’re getting better as a coaching staff,” Musgrave said of a relationship he believes has kept his quarterback on an upward trajectory this season. “We’re game-planning better and putting him in better position — everybody, all 11 guys — to be successful.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Stanford Cardinal linebacker Tristan Sinclair (8) pushes Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) out of bounds during the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Chance Nolan leads Oregon State to easy win vs. Stanford

Oregon State became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2013 on Saturday, dominating Pacific-12 Conference foe Stanford 35-14 in Corvallis, Ore., behind Chance Nolan’s two passing touchdowns and one rushing score.

The Beavers (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12) also got 80 yards and a rushing TD from B.J. Baylor and a 2-yard TD plunge by Jack Colletto en route to snapping a two-game losing streak.

The last time Oregon State went to a bowl game, it was the Hawaii Bowl against Boise State in 2013. The Beavers won that game 38-23 to cap a 7-6 season.

Ari Patu threw for 51 yards and one TD, and Nathaniel Peat scored on an 18-yard run for the Cardinal (3-7, 2-6), which dropped its fifth straight this season and saw an 11-game winning streak against Oregon State end.

The Beavers hadn’t beaten the Cardinal since 38-28 at home in 2009.

Oregon State wasted little time taking charge, driving 75 yards on its first possession for Nolan’s 4-yard TD run.

Colletto made it 14-0 before halftime, and when Nolan connected with Trevon Bradford for a 67-yard TD on the Beavers’ first possession of the second half, the rout was on.

Baylor ran in from 6 yards out late in the third period, and Teagan Quitoriano capped Oregon State’s scoring on a 5-yard connection with Nolan early in the fourth period.

Nolan finished 19-for-25 for 257 yards without an interception. Bradford finished with 80 yards on three catches.

Starting in place of injured Tanner McKee, Patu went 7-for-14 for his 51 yards with one interception. He had attempted just two passes in Stanford’s first nine games.

Benjamin Yurosek got Stanford on the board in the third quarter with an 8-yard TD pass from Patu.

Peat’s TD run capped the game’s scoring with 6:25 remaining.

Isaiah Sanders was the Cardinal’s leading rusher with 37 yards on nine carries, while Michael Wilson was the top pass-catcher with five receptions for 50 yards.

Oregon State outgained Stanford 475 to 230 and committed no turnovers. The Cardinal threw two interceptions and lost one fumble.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan (10) passes the ball in overtime against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford, Oregon State aim to snap skids

Stanford and Oregon State will seek to end losing streaks when Beavers standout back B.J. Baylor gets a shot at the Cardinal’s porous run defense in a Pacific-12 Conference game Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.

Both teams appeared primed to take a shot at the Pac-12 North title after early success, with Stanford beating Southern Cal and Oregon en route to a 2-1 conference start, while Oregon State had a stunning victory over Utah to improve to 3-1.

But things have gone south in a hurry for both teams. Stanford (3-6, 2-5) has lost four in a row, including 52-7 at home against Utah last week, while Oregon State (5-4, 3-3) has dropped two straight.

Technically, the Beavers remain in the Pac-12 North race, but they need help. Wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Oregon would allow them to finish 6-3, creating the possibility they could tie Oregon atop the standings and win a head-to-head tie-breaker.

If Oregon State goes on a late run, it will do so with a new defensive coordinator. The school fired Tim Tibesar on Sunday, replacing him on an interim basis with inside linebackers coach Trent Bray, in the wake of poor defensive efforts in losses to California and Colorado, games in which the Beavers allowed a total of 76 points and 909 yards.

“I felt it was the right time to make a change in our football program,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said in an announcement made by the school on Sunday night.

Oregon State has had no such problems offensively of late, especially in the passing game, where Chance Nolan went a combined 35-of-64 for 498 yards and three touchdowns against Cal and Colorado.

The Beavers were at their best earlier when Baylor was running well. He had four straight 100-yard games during Oregon State’s 3-1 conference start, before totaling just 140 yards on 35 carries the past two weeks.

Stanford got run over by Utah’s Tavion Thomas for 177 yards and four TDs in last week’s blowout. The Cardinal gave up 441 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns against the Utes.

“Got to have a lot of discussions on how to stop the run,” Stanford coach David Shaw insisted after the loss. “We missed a ton of tackles. It’s one thing to have gaps run through. But when you miss tackles, that’s why you give up the big, big plays. Inexcusable.”

Stanford played the Utah game without quarterback Tanner McKee, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. He remains questionable for the Oregon State game.

The Cardinal’s Jack West, Isaiah Sanders and Ari Patu combined for just 85 passing yards on 23 attempts against Utah.

–Field Level Media