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A most frustrating finish for Stanford football

Original post made on Jan 3, 2012

Fiesta Bowl

There is plenty of blame and much praise to share among all involved in the Stanford football program following the fourth-ranked Cardinal's 41-38 overtime loss to third-ranked Oklahoma State in Monday night's Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 2, 2012, 11:57 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Ted Newgen
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

David Shaw lost the game for his players! [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Coach E
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

I'm sure David Shaw knows more football than anyone commenting on this page, myself included, but here's how I see it on that final drive in regulation...

I figured that the 35 yard kick was probably about an 80% chance to be successful. Not a bad gamble. But, what do you think the chances were that Stanford might have gotten a TD with 52 seconds left and 2 timeouts, had they decided to not just run out the clock? Maybe another 25% chance at least, right? And, even if they had not made a TD, would they likely have driven to make a shorter field goal? Probably increasing the chances of making a shorter field goal.

Look, they had a guy, Luck, who their coach says is the best player he's ever seen at this level. Why not give him the chance to win the game, rather than a freshman kicker? I know they could have turned the ball over, but that was unlikely the way things were going. And in the end, it wouldn't have been any worse than what happened.

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Posted by marty toledo
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

I lost my sister to cancer last month, I cant find work as a carpenter going on two years, no money coming in and a blown head gasket, Jorden W JUST ONLY MISSED A FIELD GOAL ! people get a grip THANKS STANFORD FOR SOME AWESOME FOOTBALL! YES

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Posted by Go Bears
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

Heartbreaking loss, guys, and believe me, I know all about them. Stanford fans do have reason to worry about the future, though. Unlike, say, Oregon, it hasn't been great coaching and an incredibly innovative system that has led to Stanford's success; it's been having the best college quarterback in the country. Having a stellar talent at that position can mask a lot of deficiencies. Cal fans in the post-Aaron Rodgers era are all too aware of that!

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Posted by dragon
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

3 fingers for 3 seconds. That's what Shaw wanted and that's what he got: a time-out with 3 seconds left to win the game, he thought. He was counting on a visibly nervous freshmen kicker to deliver. What a wishful thinking!

I agree with those who think it is Shaw who lost the game because he got too cautious. If nothing else, he should have managed the clock a little better to try to score a touchdown before attempting a not so gimme field goal. He bet on the kicker's luck instead of the real deal Luck.

Stanford survived without Harbaugh. Will it be able to survive without Luck?

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Posted by bonnie mendenhall
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

The coach screwed up! Why or why would you let an extremely nervous red-shirted FRESHMAN determine the final score? Luck is a SENIOR. It was his game to win or lose. I feel badly for Luck and the other players who had the game taken away from them by an uncaring coach!
Best wishes to the seniors in the future.
Will the coach be packing his bags? Maybe Urban M. would want him on his staff.

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Posted by Ted Newgen
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

Coach E: There was no way that would have been an 80% makeable FG in a game of this magnitude with a redshirt freshman kicker. Stanford's quarterback was perfect 8 for 8 in the 4th qtr. while the kicker had already missed 1 (of 2) from comparable distance earlier, that's 50%. Factoring in kicer's youth, inexperience and nerves in a big game, the chances of him making that FG were far less than 80%. I just had a sinking feeling when there were 52 seconds on the clock with 3 timeouts and the coach elected to run for 8 yards in 2 plays without improving the field position significantly. Shaw retreated to the bunker and played not to lose instead of playing to win (this is what I meant by gutless...just no killer insticnt!), and when you have this mentality, the outcome can't be good in a close game. I think this is what Luck was alluding to in his post-game remarks.

Yes, the coach may know more X's & O's about football, but he doesn't know how to win a big game! It's just sad to see him not let his quarterback finish a storied ending in his final game! Let's see if Shaw is worth his salt without Luck next year.

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Posted by Chas from Okie State
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

You guys might not realize it but that's exactly how we got to this game in the first place, one loss on a missed field goal in the final seconds of the game. Call it Fate, Karma, or let's just call it Luck. An OSU/LSU match up just wasn't going to happen. The outcome of that game would likely have been disastrous for the Cowboys. You didn't lose the game on a kick. It had to have been frustrating to absolutely control the whole game and look up at the scoreboard and see a tie. You just don't need time of possession. Let me introduce you to the Big 12 (or 10 or 9 or what ever).

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Posted by Grad of Both
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Although proud of the 'pokes, I feel for Stanford. Sloppy defense all around, and poor poor Williamson. That said, we can all agree that the championship should not be a Bama/LSU rematch.

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Posted by Jon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I agree with Caoch E and others. Can't put all this on the kicker. He did his best. Coach Shaw however did not. You have a quarterback who's 8 of 8 with all 3 time-outs and 52 secs and you're on the 17 yd line. Why not try 2 or 3 passing downs for Luck ? Maybe you make the kick easier, maybe you get to the end zone. The game's on the line and wouldn't it make sense to put the game in the hands of one of the nations best players ??

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Posted by Duck1
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I was pissed that the BCS Championship game was going to be between two scholls from the same conference, same division for that matter. However, after watching that game last night I came to the realization that the BCS got it right. I was pulling for Stanford and was hoping for the upset. OK State is a good team but in no way, shape, fashion or form can they beat an Alabama or LSU on a neutral field (Much less in the SEC SuperDome). Stanford had no speed/size at all and should have won that game by at least 10 points. LSU beat us earlier in the year and I was amazed at how big and fast they were. Sorry, grad of both but they got it right and it hates me to admit it.

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Posted by Chas from Okie State
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Jon the resident... is correct. You don't put the game winning play on the "red shirt freshman". Look at what Gundy did. 4th down and 3. Who do you go to? Your stud.
Final Cardinal drive should have been left totaly up to Andy. You're the stud that got em here, take us home big boy. Instead, they clipped his wings and thought they could do it from the sidelines. No faith...

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Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Going for the FG in regulation was ok- that would have been a win 9 out ot 10 times. I agree they might have taken a shot at the end zone - a nice safe pass that could have been thrown away if the defense was not fooled.

The play I had a problem with was the FG attempt in OT - they had to score the TD so they might as well have gone for it.

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Posted by Megan Swezey Fogarty
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Just got back from the Fiesta Bowl and it was amazing. So proud of my University and the team. This is only a game, people, and Stanford stayed in there until the end. Stanford had a great crowd, and an amazing weekend of celebration in the beautiful desert sun. Mostly I am so proud of the team's sportsmanship! Coach Shaw is amazing and the future looks bright for Stanford Football. Go Cardinal!

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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 7:39 am

Some coaches tend to get conservative in similar situations and 8 times out of 10 their team ends up losing the game. Williamson was so visibly nervous on the sidelines that the odds were more like 90 percent that he was going to miss. Shaw had at his disposal the best college qb since Peyton Manning who was playing incredibly well, and he puts the game on the shoulders of a visibly terrified freshman kicker??? Shockingly bad decision.

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Posted by Pistol Pete
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

To the Stanford Cardinal:

A tip of my hat to the University of Stanford and your great football team. What an amazing game. I'm sorry for your young kicker - as he will be remembered for the late game misses. Hope you bounce back partner.

As an OSU alum, I feel that we had Luck on our side. That being said, we've lined up against some pretty good QBs over the years, from Elway to Bradford - but this Luck guy is something special. Good luck to you in the NFL.

We'll remember the game as our biggest, so far. Watch out for the Pokes for years to come. Maybe we'll meet up again.


BTW - Your band has no class

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Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm

The band is juvenile.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

No loss in a team game can be blamed on one single person, one single play.

Everyone makes mistakes - coaches, players, referees. Just as there are great decisions or plays made by the same people. And those successes/mistakes happen on every play - from the first kick-off until the end of the game.

Sure, you can point to some single events --- but you can just as easily point to a bad pass, a missed block (resulting in a QB sack), a fumble, an interception that happened earlier in the game --- even going all the way back to the first possession in the first quarter.

My guess is that those looking for a scapegoat never played a down of Division 1 football, let alone coached at that level.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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