Austin Hooper

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Stanford TE Austin Hooper declares for NFL Draft

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Stanford junior tight end Austin Hooper is heading to the NFL. Hooper announced his decision to declare early for the 2016 NFL Draft on Monday, leaving behind his final year of eligibility in Palo Alto.

Hooper was Stanford’s third-leading receiver in 2015 with 438 yards and six touchdowns. He was also third on the team in receiving in 2014 with 499 yards and two touchdowns. This season, Hooper finished in the top 10 among tight ends in receiving and was a Mackey Award finalist while also earning All-Pac-12 first team and All-American honors.

Stanford has sent some talented tight ends to the National Football League in recent years. Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo were each drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. Ertz was drafted by former Oregon (and now former Eagles coach) Chip Kelly. Toilolo ended up in Atlanta with the Falcons.

Finalists for O’Brien, Outland, Bednarik, other awards announced

Associated Press

A slew of finalists for college football’s major individual awards were announced Tuesday evening, highlighted by multi-award finalists Derrick HenryChristian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson. Eleven of the 12 awards listed below (excluding the Burlsworth Trophy) are members of the National College Football Awards Assocation and will have their winners announced during ESPN’s Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards Show, to be broadcast from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 10 (7 p.m. ET).

The winner of the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center will also be revealed on ESPN’s show, but finalists aren’t announced until Monday, Dec. 7.

The finalists are:

Maxwell Award (best overall player)
Derrick Henry, Alabama
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Doak Walker Award (best running back)
Leonard Fournette, LSU
Derrick Henry, Alabama
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver)
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Josh Doctson, TCU
Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

John Mackey Award (best tight end)
Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Austin Hooper, Stanford
Jordan Leggett, Clemson

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
Spencer Drango, Baylor
Joshua Garnett, Stanford
A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player)
Tyler Matakevich, Temple
Carl Nassib, Penn State
Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
Jeremy Cash, Duke
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Desmond King, Iowa

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)
Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Jake Elliott, Memphis
Ka’imi Fairbairn, UCLA

Ray Guy Award (best punter)
Michael Carrizosa, San Jose State
Tom Hackett, Utah
Hayden Hunt, Colorado State

Burlsworth Trophy (best walk-on)*
Luke Falk, Washington State
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Carl Nassib, Penn State

Wuerffel Trophy (best community servant)
Ty Darlington, Oklahoma
Landon Foster, Kentucky
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana

* – winner not announced at ESPN awards show

Stanford nears Pac-12 North clinch as Christian McCaffrey adds to Heisman résumé

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On the heels of Florida becoming the first Power Five team to clinch a division title this season, a team further west is rapidly approaching the same feat.

No. 11 Stanford jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead on Colorado and never looked back, cruising to a 42-10 win that kept the Cardinal (7-0) perfect in Pac-12 play.  The win moves Stanford one very big step closer to the North division title and a spot opposite the South winner in the conference championship game.  With two conference games remaining, all Stanford needs is to win one, or one Oregon (3-2) loss regardless of what the Cardinal does the rest of the way in the league.

The Cardinal will be looking to play in their third Pac-12 title tilt since the inaugural event in 2011.  The three appearances would break a tie with Oregon for most appearances.

As is ofttimes the case, it was Christian McCaffrey leading the way for the Cardinal in their latest quest for a divisional crown.

The multi-purpose Heisman contender put together 286 all-purpose yards, but that total came with a twist.  McCaffrey was his usual stat-stuffing self in the running game (147 yards), pass-catching game (15 yards on three receptions) and return game (46 yards on a pair of kick returns), with the running back accomplishing something he hadn’t done not only this season but in his career: tossed a touchdown, connecting with Austin Hooper on a 28-yard pass very early in the fourth quarter.

McCaffrey was part of an offense that doubled up the Buffs in yards, 472-231.  The Buffs managed just 4.4 yards per play against a dominating Cardinal defense.

Stanford leading UCLA toward the woodshed

Associated Press

Since a season-opening loss, No. 15 Stanford has been a veritable buzzsaw.  Thursday night, No. 18 UCLA is getting a taste of said buzzsaw first hand.

To start off, the Cardinal went up 14-3 midway through the first quarter… and then really stepped on the Bruins’ throats in the second quarter, heading into the locker room with a comfortable 35-10 halftime lead.  Since the 16-6 Week 1 loss to Northwestern, Stanford has outscored its opponents 204-89 over the last 18 quarters.

As dominant as the Cardinal has been on the scoreboard, though, the Bruins in this game have done their fair share of playing the role of gracious guests — and that graciousness was on full display in the first half of the first quarter.

On their first drive of the game, the Bruins converted a third-and-one from their own 29… only to see it negated by an offensive pass interference penalty.  On the very next play, the Ruh-Rosen One, Josh Rosen, threw a pick-six that put Stanford up 7-0.

On the ensuing possession, Paul Perkins scored from 10 yards out… only to see it negated by an illegal formation penalty.  Following another penalty, this one for holding, the Bruins were ultimately forced to kick a field goal that closed the gap to 7-3.

Christian McCaffrey (244 all-purpose yards) immediately returned the kickoff 96 yards to set the Cardinal up at the Bruins’ four-yard line.  The first play from scrimmage, Kevin Hogan made it 14-3 with 7:03 left in the first on a scoring toss to Austin Hooper.  While the Bruins responded on the very next offensive play on a Rosen 70-yard bomb to Darren Andrews to make it 14-10, the Cardinal scored 21 straight second-quarter points — another Hogan touchdown pass, two McCaffrey touchdown runs — to turn the game into a semi-rout through the first 30 minutes.

UCLA averted an all-out rout as Perkins’s three-yard touchdown run with :11 remaining cut the lead to a little more manageable 35-17.

The Bruins finished the half with six penalties for 57 yards and were just 1-6 on third downs; unless that’s reversed, the Cardinal, which has won 22 straight when scoring at least 28 points, will cruise to its fifth straight win and further increase its stranglehold on the Pac-12 North.