October 6 has proven to be a memorable day for Stanford | News | Palo Alto Online |


October 6 has proven to be a memorable day for Stanford


A first down is 10 yards. A touchdown is six points. Put those two numbers together on a calendar -- as in October 6, or 10-6 -- and you get a most memorable date in modern Stanford football history.

In the last half century, not only has Stanford won each time it has played a football game on Oct. 6, the nature of each win has been truly remarkable.

Here is a summary of each of these very memorable Oct. 6 games:

Oct. 6, 1973: Stanford 24, at Illinois 0

Underdogs to a heavily-favored Illini team playing at home, Stanford withstands the second-quarter loss of starting quarterback Mike Boryla to injury and parlays three recovered Illini fumbles into three touchdown drives totaling just 23 yards combined.

Linebacker Gordon Riegel has 17 tackles, two pass deflections and a forced fumble to lead a sterling Stanford defensive effort against a Big Ten opponent on its home turf.

Forty-three seasons and 51 games have now come and gone without a Stanford team having again notched a nonconference road shutout.

Oct. 6, 1979: at Stanford 27, UCLA 24

Ken Naber, kicking into a slight breeze, drills a 56-yard field goal on the game's final play to give the Cardinal a dramatic win over the Bruins at Stanford Stadium.

Gordon Banks' block of a UCLA field goal attempt with 1:11 remaining makes the winning kick possible, as does a seven-play, 38-yard, John Elway-led drive into Bruin territory following the missed field goal attempt.

Naber's kick, which had a slight hook to its trajectory, glanced off the left upright -- three feet above the crossbar -- and careened through for the winning points.

Two Stanford freshmen have key roles in the game-winning kick: the snapper was Mike Teeuws and the holder was Elway.

Oct. 6, 1984: Stanford 23, at UCLA 21

Backup quarterback Fred Buckley, subbing for injured starter John Paye and possessing only five snaps of career game experience, directs Stanford to an upset win over the preseason national top-ranked Bruins.

Buckley throws a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jeff James to help Stanford jump out to a 20-0 first-half lead, and the Garin Veris and Dave Wyman-led Cardinal defense rebuffs the Bruins on fourth down in Stanford territory in the final two minutes of the game to preserve the win.

It is UCLA's first loss in a regular season home game at the Rose Bowl since the team moved its home games there in 1982.

Oct. 6, 1990: Stanford 36, at Notre Dame 31

A four-rushing-touchdown performance by running back Tommy Vardell -- the final touchdown coming with just 36 seconds remaining in the game -- propels the Cardinal to a come-from-behind win over the nation's No. 1 team and hands the Fighting Irish their  first home loss in 19 games.

Three fumbled punts by Notre Dame, each recovered by an opportunistic Cardinal punt coverage team, are key factors in Stanford's comeback, and safety Jimmy Klein's defense of a Notre Dame touchdown pass attempt on the game's final play helps preserve the Cardinal win.

For the remainder of the season and continuing to this day, "Touchdown Tommy" becomes a nationally-known moniker within the college football world.

Oct. 6, 2007: Stanford 24, at USC 23

In one of the most famous games in college football history, Mark Bradford's leaping, twisting reception of a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tavita Pritchard with 49 seconds remaining in the game provides (with the extra point) the winning margin in Stanford's 24-23 upset of No. 1 USC.

Several key plays by the Cardinal earlier in the game make the game-winning touchdown possible: Pannel Egboh's block of a Trojan extra point attempt in the first half, Austin Yancy's pick-six interception in the third quarter, Pritchard's fourth-down completion to Richard Sherman just seconds prior to the Bradford pass, and Bo McNally's mid-field interception in the game's final seconds.

Oct. 6, 2012: at Stanford 54, Arizona 48 (OT)

Trailing by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinal rallies with two late scores, the second of which is a Josh Nunes three-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds remaining in regulation -- one play after Nunes kept Stanford's hopes alive with a fourth-and-9 pass completion to Zach Ertz.

On a crazy afternoon in which each team piles up 617 yards of total offense, Stanford's Chase Thomas intercepts an Arizona pass attempt that had been tipped by teammate Henry Anderson in the extra period, giving the ball to Stanford and setting up a 21-yard touchdown run by all-time rushing leader Stepfan Taylor two plays later that clinches victory for the Cardinal.

This amazing list of games comprises every Stanford football game played on Oct. 6 during the past half century.

In other words, the Cardinal not only wins football games on Oct. 6, it wins them in memorable ways.

Where will you be on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018?

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Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm

The 2007 win over USC came with USC a 41-point favorite.

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