Remound Wright

Stanford blows away Maryland in Foster Farms Bowl, Pac-12 is 4-0 in bowls

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Stanford (8-5) did its part to keep the Pac-12’s perfect bowl record in play this bowl season. The Cardinal were dominant in a 45-21 victory over Maryland (7-6), improving the Pac-12 bowl record to a clean 4-0 this season.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan was locked in from the start, ending his night with a pair of touchdown passes and plenty of short, accurate passes for 189 yards and 50 rushing yards. Cardinal running back Remound Wright rushed for three touchdowns to help push Stanford to a big lead in the first half. Wright was unstoppable down close to the end zone, scoring all three of his first-half touchdowns from inside the four-yard line. Having that offensive line providing a nice push against the Maryland defense certainly had an impact as well.

There were very few offensive highlights for Maryland in their first bowl game representing the Big Ten. Will Likely returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, although it came in the fourth quarter with Stanford still leading 42-14 following the score. Stefon Diggs returned to the field after missing the last few games of the season due to an injury, and he led the Terps with 106 receiving yards on nine catches. Quarterback C.J. Brown struggled to find consistency during the game, and he was picked off once and under pressure and sacked multiple times. He did run for a touchdown on his final play on the field of his career, so that was nice.

Stanford was a mess inside the red zone for a while this season, but you would not have been able to guess that if the Foster Farms Bowl was your first time watching the Cardinal this season. Stanford scored five red zone touchdowns. If the Cardinal can take that and the success seen in the regular season finale against UCLA into the spring, the Cardinal should once again be considered a team to pay attention to in the Pac-12 in 2015. There are going to be plenty of holes to fill though, on both sides of the football. The defense should be hit especially hard, but David Shaw‘s program has found a way to continue to play well on defense and that is not expected to change anytime soon.

Shaw now has two bowl victories to his name. That is as many bowl victories as Stanford had from 1993 through the end of the Jim Harbaugh era in 2010.

The Pac-12 remains the only conference without a loss this bowl season. At 4-0, the Pac-12 now owns the best bowl record of any conference this season, with Conference USA and the SEC each trailing with 4-1 records. The Big Ten is now a game under .500 at 2-3. The ACC (3-5) and Big 12 (0-3) are also struggling so far this bowl season.

Stanford nearly flawless in first half of Foster Farms Bowl, Terps in B1G trouble

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Stanford seems to have Maryland right where they want them at halftime of the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, California. The Cardinal lead the Terps of the Big Ten, 28-7, after one half of play. For a team that has allowed  more than 20 points twice this season, Stanford looks to be in firm control of this bowl match-up between the Big Ten and Pac-12.

Kevin Hogan executed a flawless opening drive, completing all five of his passes as the Cardinal moved down the field against Maryland. The Terps had some success with red zone defense this season, but Stanford had no problem pushing into the end zone when Remound Wright picked up the one-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Stanford added three more touchdowns in the second quarter to build the 28-7 lead on Maryland, with Hogan continuing to be accurate with his passing and Stanford overpowering Maryland’s defense on the ground.

Maryland has welcomed wide receiver Stefon Diggs back to the field, and he has had an impact for Maryland at times. Diggs has five catches for 65 yards, and quarterback C.J. Brown has been accurate with his passing, but the Terps have struggled to sustain drives. Stanford has the advantage in offensive yards at the half as well, with 243 yards to just 135 for Maryland.

Stanford has only allowed more than 20 points in a game twice this season. Arizona State (26 points) and Oregon (45 points) were the two teams to accomplish it. Maryland’s offense is going to have a tough time coming back against the Cardinal if the defense keeps it up.

No. 25 Stanford avoids upset but still has work to do

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It my not have been a great performance by No. 25 Stanford (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12), but the Cardinal will likely take it. Stanford held off an upset bid from Washington State (2-5, 1-3 Pac-12) with a 27-17 victory in Palo Alto Friday night.

Stanford will likely find a way to stay ranked in the top 25 when the new polls come out on Sunday, although the Cardinal still lack what it will take to make a serious challenge in the Pac-12 this season. Although Stanford scored twice inside the red zone, which has been more Kryptonite green than red for Stanford this season, the struggles seemed to continue. A couple of drives had to settle for field goals inside the red zone and another ended with a lost fumble against a team not particularly known for its defense. Kevin Hogan started the game and performed well, completing 23 of 35 passes for 2984 yards and three touchdowns. Remound Wright nearly hit the century mark with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ty Montgomery had seven catches for a team-high 72 yards.

Stanford’s defense did perform well though. The line brought pressure on Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday all night long. A week after rewriting the record book, Halliday was held to 287 passing yards and two touchdowns, with one interception and four sacks for a loss of 56 yards. It was a rough night for the WSU passer, but that should have been expected with Washington State’s offensive line being overpowered by Stanford’s defensive line. Washington State, as a team, was held to -38 rushing yards in the game, with most of that damage coming on sacks of Halliday.

Stanford has quite the schedule still to come. If the Cardinal are going to make any case to be a playoff team with two losses, the results are going to have to be overwhelming to even have a shot at consideration. Stanford is at Arizona State next week and still has road games at Oregon and UCLA to play. A road game at Cal may be no easy task either.

Washington State will be happy just finding a way to slide into the postseason bowl line-up. With just two wins, Washington State will need four more wins in the final five games of the regular season just to become eligible. Next week the Cougars have off, but they return to action the following week against Arizona at home, followed by USC.