Stanford overcomes sluggish start, defeats Beavers 38-13

580426.jpg

Stanford overcomes sluggish start, defeats Beavers 38-13

BOX SCORECORVALLIS, Ore. -- Fourth-ranked Stanford was wary of Oregon State, and a slow start against the Beavers on Saturday gave the Cardinal even more reason for concern.After a thrilling triple-overtime victory against USC and the big Pac-12 North contest looming against No. 6 Oregon next weekend, the lowly Beavers mounted a threat when they closed to within 17-13 in the third quarter.But then Stanford did what Stanford does, pulling away for a 38-13 victory on Saturday."I think we have a mature football team," Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck said. "We understood it could be a trap game sandwiched between two great teams but I think our football team is mature enough to understand that if we don't win this game the rest of the games don't matter."Luck shook off the rain and the chill to throw for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.But it came at a price for Stanford, who lost senior receiver Chris Owusu to a concussion in the second quarter after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Beavers cornerback Jordan Poyer. Owusu was taken from the field by ambulance.Stanford (9-0, 7-0 Pac-12) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 17 games. The Cardinal have not opened 9-0 since 1952.Redshirt freshman Sean Mannion threw for 252 yards and a touchdown for Oregon State (2-7, 2-4), which is guaranteed a losing season with the defeat. The Beavers' only wins have come against Arizona and Washington State.Stanford was coming off the 56-48 overtime win over Southern California. Next week, the Cardinal host the Ducks in a game that could decide the Pac-12 North's representative in the league's inaugural championship game.Luck completed 20 of 30 passes with one interception. He upped his touchdown pass total to 26, six shy of his own school record set last year, by spreading it around and connecting for scores with Coby Fleener, Stepfan Taylor and Griff Whalen.Saturday's victory was the Heisman Trophy candidate's first in the state of Oregon."I though we left a lot of plays out there," Luck said. "Credit to Oregon State, which played tough. It was a tough atmosphere out there."The Cardinal opened with a 2-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Stewart before Luck found Whalen with a 17-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.Oregon State was efficient on drive that ended with Mannion's 15-yard TD pass to James Rodgers midway through the second quarter.On Stanford's next series, Poyer collided helmet-to-helmet with Owusu. As he was loaded into the ambulance, the receiver gave a thumbs up.The hit knocked the ball out of Owusu's hands and Poyer scooped it up and ran back into the end zone. But it was nullified when Poyer was called for a personal foul on the hit.Poyer said later he thought he hit shoulder to helmet. But he understood the call."It was a bang-bang play. The ref saw helmet-to-helmet contact. He's going to make that call every time," Poyer said.Erik Whitaker added a 31-yard field goal for Stanford before halftime to make it 17-7.The Beavers narrowed it early in the second half on freshman Malcolm Agnew's 2-yard scoring dive. It appeared that they had momentum, but on their next series the Beavers were hurt by a holding penalty on Markus Wheaton on a play that would have been good for a first down in Stanford territory."We had a pretty nice-looking drive up to that point, I think," Riley said.Stanford went up 23-13 on Luck's 27-yard touchdown pass to Taylor and before the third quarter was over, Luck found Fleener with a 14-yard pass. Tyler Gaffney ran 10 yards for Stanford's final score.Overall the Cardinal rushed for 300 yards, compared to just 33 rushing yards for the Beavers. Stanford had 507 yards in total offense, while Oregon State had 285."It really hurts you in a game when you can't sustain more running yardage than that," Riley said.The Beavers were short-handed on offense because of injuries, missing slotback Jordan Bishop, tailback Jovan Stevenson and two offensive line starters, Grant Johnson and Burke Ellis.Stanford said Owusu was conscious and had full range of mobility in his extremities. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays.Last week in the 56-48 victory over the Trojans, safety T.J. McDonald leveled Owusu with a hit to the head, drawing a personal foul penalty late in regulation. The Pac-12 suspended McDonald for the first half of Friday's night game at Colorado for the late hit.Tests after the game did not show a concussion, but Owusu did strain his shoulder.Owusu also suffered what Stanford coach David Shaw described as a "minor concussion" in a win at Washington State in mid-October.Going into the game, the senior receiver had 33 catches for 370 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had a 33-yard run against the Beavers in the first quarter.Owusu returned to Reser and was in the locker room after the game. His status for next week against Oregon is not known.

If he takes Baylor job, Dykes will be graded harshly, his reputation at risk

If he takes Baylor job, Dykes will be graded harshly, his reputation at risk

Sonny Dykes, the defense-resistant head coach at California, is being hailed as not only the top candidate but the best fit for the vacated job at Baylor, which has been rendered an ethical cesspool by its repellent organizational dealings regarding a series of sexual assaults associated with the football program.

And good on him, if he wants to go, this being America and all. Cal probably won’t put up an enormous fight to retain him, and if he wants to return to his Texas roots, run a higher profile program in a more dynamic football conference, well, you can’t hate a man for climbing.

But this isn’t just a football job any more, and Dykes has to understand that treating it that way would represent failure.

Now Dykes could try to do as Jim Grobe, the interim coach who decided he didn’t want to keep the job, did, and try to keep a laser-like focus on the football. It is the safe thing to do, especially in a state in which football is more important than oil, spring football and even the daily insanity of its politics.

But Baylor has been a mess for too long as a result of its persistent mishandling and non-handling of the sexual assault scandal. It has become the touchstone by which the university is regarded, by outsiders, students and even present and potential football players. Baylor football may well be toxic for the next few years on a number of levels, and the only way for Dykes, or anyone else for that matter, to take the job and make it worth holding is to make transparency and zero tolerance the most important pillars of any new administration.

Business as usual just won’t cut it. Baylor has been crushed for business as usual.

So if Sonny Dykes is ready to meet that challenge in addition to the Oklahomas and Texas Techs and Kansas States that actually determine his employment, then by all means he has to rebuild trust in a school he has never worked at before. He has to clean up what he can of a colossal institutional mess. He has to make Baylor cleaner than clean, in face, in word and in deed.

Lack of naivete prevents us from ignoring the real reason he would be hired. He is being hired to win football games, and will be judged ultimately on that singular skill.

But to get into recruits’ homes, he has to show a devotion to be different than Baylor’s reputation. He has to repudiate some of the Art Briles era without doing it so stridently that he chases players away. He has to repudiate the culture of an administration that has been devoted then and now to keeping prying eyes away from their willingness to protect the brand at the cost of student safety. He has to be Forrest Gregg after the SMU death penalty of the 1980s, only he has to win quicker than Gregg because Gregg was hired to clean up SMU’s recruiting scandal while Baylor will have hired Dykes only to coach and mind his business.

And frankly, this seems like the type of task that will not serve Dykes well.

He will be pestered about a past that isn’t his, and “I’m sorry, I’m only here to talk about the future” answers won’t do. He will be nagged about the disarray of the program after the recruiting pipelines Briles created collapsed, and “We’re very happy with our class” declarations will ring hollow. He will be scrutinized for his decisions, and any player of his who falls afoul of either the law or human decency will label as part of the problem rather than the solution. His reputation is at risk here, and mistakes will be graded harshly.

Oh, and given the circumstances, his record will not immediately glow.

So maybe Baylor isn’t the job for him after all. Only he can know that, and only he can decide what job is the one for him. It’s pretty clear he is looking around for something a little less Cal, and while Baylor may not be the gem it once was, he may decide that home is too strong a lure, and fall in love with the idea of being the guy who steers the program out of its current shame and back atop the always disputatious Big 12 Conference.

Just so he knows what he’s in for if the rumors turn out to be true.
 

No. 12 Saint Mary's rides Hermanson's hot hand past Stanford

gaels.jpg
USATSI

No. 12 Saint Mary's rides Hermanson's hot hand past Stanford

STANFORD -- Randy Bennett envisioned how good his team might be a month into the season, and then a month after that comes conference play, once Saint Mary's got everybody healthy and roles defined.

The 16th-year coach already realizes this group could emerge as one of his best yet - and he has had some talented teams tucked away in the East Bay hills.

"It's up there. We'll see," he said. "Potentially, yeah. Potentially we could be. We have to do it."

Even if he had to give the Gaels a little lecture about playing defense during halftime. They responded by running away from Stanford in the second half, with Calvin Hermanson scoring a career-high 25 points and knocking down a career-best seven 3-pointers in No. 12 Saint Mary's 66-51 win Wednesday night to stay unbeaten.

"I wasn't too happy with how we defended in the first half. I didn't think we played hard or smart defensively," Bennett said. "We missed shots but I wasn't worried about that. We can shoot. We just have too many good shooters."

Jock Landale had 13 points and eight rebounds while playing in foul trouble for the sharp-passing Gaels (6-0), who got eight assists from Emmett Naar and six from Joe Rahon.

Grant Verhoeven scored 12 points and Robert Cartwright added 10 for Stanford (6-2), which under first-year coach Jerod Haase is off to its best start in five seasons. The Cardinal began 10-1 in 2011-12.

Hermanson hit five of his 3s in the second half.

"We've got a lot of good shooters on this team and Calvin's one of the best ones," Rahon said. "It was an awesome show he put on at both ends of the floor tonight."

After Stanford pulled within 48-45 on two free throws by Cartwright, Hermanson and Kyle Clark hit consecutive 3-pointers and Saint Mary's took off with a 16-3 run.

Saint Mary's opened the second half on a 12-0 run, getting two quick layups from Landale and Naar's 3-pointer for a 38-30 lead at the 15:36 mark as Stanford missed its first seven shots after intermission. Sheffield hit a jumper at 15:14 for Stanford's first points.

The Gaels needed a strong start after the break to keep its impressive early record unblemished. The teams finished even on rebounds with 29 apiece, but Stanford went 3 for 12 from beyond the arc and shot 38.2 percent for the game to 55.1 percent by Saint Mary's.

"It's every coach's dream to have that many shooters and that many great passers on the floor at the same time. It's hard to guard it all," Haase said, noting, "They came out more enthused than we did."

Saint Mary's won its first five games by an average of 18 points. The Gaels are picked to win the West Coast Conference after sharing the regular-season title last season with perennial power Gonzaga.

The Cardinal, who lost 78-61 on Saint Mary's home floor in McKeon Pavilion last year, then hung tough until the Gaels' barrage of late 3s - and 11 of 27 from long range overall, 7 of 9 by Hermanson.

BIG TIP-INS

Saint Mary's: The defense held Stanford to 21 second-half points. ... Landale made 6 of 8 shots and is now 51 for 67 - a 76 percent clip. ... The Gaels had 21 assists on 27 baskets, giving them 120 assists on 176 field goals this season.

Stanford: Warriors owner and Stanford fan Joe Lacob sat courtside. ... Haase is 2-9 all-time against ranked opponents. ... The Cardinal dropped to 183-81 all-time against current members of the WCC. This was the first visit by a WCC team to Maples Pavilion since a win over Loyola Marymount on Dec. 17, 2014.

BAY AREA RIVALRY

This marked the 57th meeting between the programs.

Bennett always hopes to keep these series against Pac-12 neighbors Cal and Stanford going for his mid-major program.

"I appreciate Stanford playing us in this home and home. It's great for Bay Area basketball," Bennett said.

Haase is open-minded, too, if the scheduling works.

"I think it's good for the Bay Area," he said. "It's absolutely on the table and we'll continue dialogue."

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's: The Gaels have a lengthy layoff before hosting University of Texas at Arlington on Dec. 8.

Stanford: The Cardinal face back-to-back ranked opponents, traveling to face Haase's old Kansas team - ranked fourth - on Saturday.