It was a tale of two halves for the Stanford Cardinal. The first half was total and utter domination. The second was less so.
No. 5 Stanford (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 23 ASU (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) 42-28 after the Sun Devils made a late push that left Stanford coach David Shaw wanting to get back to his team’s mantra.
“We played one great half, a solid third quarter and a bad fourth quarter,” Shaw said, “We’re going back to our mantra, playing 60 minutes of Stanford football. Today we played about only 40.”
Stanford did most of its damage in the first half, scoring touchdowns on three of its first four drives while totaling 258 yards of offense on its way to a 29-0 lead at halftime.
Junior quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 11 of 17 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.Hogan also added 37 yards rushing.
The Cardinal ground attack was the focal point of the offense as Stanford out-rushed the Sun Devils 240 yards to 50.
“We were able to get a lot of pressure on ASU up front and that’s because we were able to shut down the run early,” redshirt senior defensive end Ben Gardner said.
Senior running back Tyler Gaffney rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while fellow senior running back Anthony Wilkerson chipped in 68 rushing yards and a touchdown of his own.
Stanford’s offense worked like a well-oiled machine taking advantage of the running game to set up the play action pass for junior wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who had four receptions for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think all that stuff comes from the run game,” Montgomery said. “The defense has to respect our run, that helps us a lot, we just run our routes and Hogan throws us the ball.”
While Stanford’s offense was one kind of machine, it’s defense worked like a wrecking ball. The Cardinal’s motto is “party in the backfield” and Stanford’s defenders had a lot of partying to do.
The Cardinal had 10 tackles for loss and three sacks in the win with redshirt senior inside linebacker Shayne Skov and Gardener leading the team with 1.5 TFLs each. Skov, Gardner and redshirt senior defensive end Josh Mauro each recorded a sack.
The Sun Devils came to life in the second half outscoring the Cardinal 28-13, but in the end, Stanford was able to walk away with the win.
However, Gardener said the second half score left a bit of a sour taste in his mouth.
“There was definitely a little bit of a feeling of a little bit of disappointment,” Gardner said. “We celebrate all wins, and we’re glad we got this one but we’ve got to take a little more pride in playing our style of football no matter what the situation.”
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