Potent Stanford offense rolls over Washington


Potent Stanford offense rolls over Washington


STANFORD -- Stepfan Taylor knew it would take quite a performance for his fellow running backs to ever overshadow Andrew Luck. Maybe even one for the record books.With a wild first half that might have been satisfying enough for most teams, Taylor turned to teammate Tyler Gaffney in the locker room and issued a challenge."I told Gaffney," Taylor said, "let's try to get 500 out here."Almost.Taylor, Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson powered seventh-ranked Stanford to a school-record 446 yards rushing to blow past No. 22 Washington 65-21 on Saturday night in the Cardinal's most impressive victory all season.The running backs gave the Heisman Trophy hopeful some rest as Stanford (7-0, 5-0 Pac-12) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games. Taylor ran for 138 yards, Gaffney 117 yards and Wilkerson 93 yards to break the previous team mark of 439 in a victory over Oregon State in 1981."We were very aware of it when we broke it," Luck said. "What a testament to the o-line, to the coaches, to the tight ends, to the receivers. It was a total team effort on the ground, and most of all to the backs making it happen."Facing the first ranked opponent of the season, Stanford pounded the Huskies (5-2, 3-1) in a critical Pac-12 North matchup.Chris Polk ran for scores from 46 and 61 yards in the first half to keep Washington close early. He finished with 144 yards rushing as the Cardinal's defense clamped down.Luck threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns and completed 16 of 21 passes but took a back seat - for once - to a running game that has quietly been among the nation's best the last few years. No matter what happens next week at Southern California, the victory almost guarantees that the Nov. 12 matchup against Oregon at Stanford Stadium will decide the North's representative in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.Not a bad time for the Cardinal to fly south to the Coliseum."They are a good football team for a reason and why they do what they do and have been on a run they're on," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. "They wear you out and they wear you down."With three running backs leading the way, Washington couldn't stop any of them.Taylor and Gaffney each ran for a touchdown and Wilkerson had two, including a 38-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter that snapped the record set back when John Elway was the Cardinal's quarterback.Stanford coach David Shaw practically apologized for the late score, admitting he just hoped to run out the clock with the backups in the game."You can't tell a runner not to run," Shaw said.A week after a poor first-half showing at Washington State, Stanford started with a 76-yard drive on six plays capped by Jeremy Stewart's 2-yard TD run. Jordan Williamson kicked the first of his three field goals from 39 yards to put the Cardinal ahead 10-0.Polk broke two tackles up the sideline on 41-yard touchdown run for his first score. Then he sprinted untouched through the middle for 61 yards to bring the Huskies within 17-14 early in the second quarter.Just when it seemed the Cardinal might finally be tested, they ran away from yet another opponent.Taylor ripped through a seem on Stanford's next play from scrimmage, running 70 yards for a touchdown without receiving so much as a hand swipe. Luck followed by connecting with Drew Terrell from 5 yards out for his second touchdown pass to give the Cardinal a 31-14 lead."They left a guy open. I just missed him. It was kind of just unfortunate," Price said of the interception. "It's embarrassing anytime you lose like this."In a half where the offenses ran wild, the biggest play might have come on defense.Michael Thomas broke the game open when he stepped in front of a receiver over the middle and picked off a pass from Price. He raced 62 yards down the sideline, stepping over the diving quarterback to put Stanford ahead 38-14 at the break.The Huskies, who were shutout 41-0 by Stanford last year in Seattle, had entered the Top 25 for the first time in two seasons this week behind Price, who entered game tied with Boise State's Kellen Moore for second in the country with 21 touchdown passes. Price's 2-yard TD pass to Evan Hudson that came early in the third quarter came with the game already a blowout.Stanford still led 48-21 after the score, which was Hudson's first career reception. While Price was sacked only twice, he was under constant pressure. The sophomore finished with 247 yards passing.Gaffney, anchoring the wildcat formation, had runs of 14 and 34 yards before capping off Stanford's first drive of the second half with a 4-yard TD. Taylor and Gaffney became the 10th running back duo in school history to rush for 100-yard running games."I think that will be something special down the road for guys to look back on," Luck said. "Hopefully it's broken next week."

Harbaugh could make over $10M in 2016, more than Saban


Harbaugh could make over $10M in 2016, more than Saban

When USA Today released their annual series on college football coaching salaries, it wasn’t a complete shock to see Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh top the list given how much the school has invested in him since he returned to Ann Arbor from the NFL.

What was a little surprising was the total compensation figure listed for the Wolverines’ head coach at a whopping $9,004,000. That’s a figure that’s more than $2 million more than the second highest paid coach (Nick Saban) and $3 million more than Big Ten rival Urban Meyer.

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Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears


Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears

BERKELEY  — Two days before California plays its second game in less than a week against a well-rested USC team, coach Sonny Dykes was still trying to figure out why the Golden Bears were put in this position.

The quick turnaround and short week following Friday's double-overtime win against Oregon forced Cal to condense its normal schedule, something that wouldn't bother Dykes so much if there weren't so many other factors involved.

The Bears already had to trim a day off their regular routine because Thursday night's game is on the road. On top of that, several Cal players are in the middle of midterm exams, reducing their availability for practice even more.

It's a topic that Dykes has been simmering over for a few weeks now and one he wasn't ready to back off of Tuesday.

"When you sit down and look at the schedule, clearly it's not ideal," Dykes said "It's one of those deals where you just go, 'How in the world did this ever happen? How could somebody let this happen?'"

Cal (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) was coming off a 12-day break when it beat Oregon in Berkeley on Friday night in a game that lasted nearly 4 ½ hours and didn't end until almost midnight local time. The Bears ran 118 plays offensively against the Ducks, which Dykes said was the equivalent of playing two games.

On the other hand, USC (4-3, 3-2) hasn't played since thumping Arizona 48-14 on Oct. 15.

While some team would have had to play the Trojans coming off a bye, Dykes can't understand why the Bears were selected to do it on short rest — and on the road.

"We've had to make a lot of schedule changes and do a lot of different things out of the norm," Dykes said. "It's one thing to do it on six days' notice. It's another to do it on the road. But our guys have handled it well."

The Bears shortened their work week to try to get everything in.

Players were given Saturday off but were back on the field Sunday afternoon. Cal practiced on its normal day off, Monday, but several players were unable to attend due to academic responsibilities.

"The challenge you always face is making sure that you balance keeping them fresh with getting enough reps and developing your young players," Dykes said. "Just teaching them all the things you need to teach them about your opponent in a limited amount of time. We've got to balance getting some work done but at the same time making sure we're fresh."

Cal's players don't seem bothered by the quick turnaround.

Defensive back Cameron Walker and left tackle Aaron Cochran said the short week means more emphasis on studying USC and doing extra film work.

Quarterback Davis Webb, on the other hand, doesn't think it will be much of an issue at all.

"It's a challenge but I think it's a mindset at the same time," Webb said. "We understand that's how the schedule rolled for us this year and there are no excuses. We have to play a tough team on Thursday night and we look forward to the challenge. If you don't know the game plan and what they're going to do by Thursday then you're in trouble."