Stanford Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 10 Game vs. Colorado
The Stanford Cardinal have had an up-and-down football season thus far, but their winning performance against the Colorado Buffaloes couldn't have come at a better time.
The team started out 3-0 and vaulted themselves into the Top 10 after defeating USC, but subsequently dropped close games at Washington and Notre Dame.
Since the loss to the Fighting Irish, the team has won three straight games, but they hardly looked like a team ready to challenge for a Pac-12 title after squeaking by a poor Washington State team, 24-17.
But against the Buffaloes, every part of the Cardinal attack seemed in tune and prepared for the final three games of the regular season. They have to be ready, though, because they face three ranked teams, including undefeated Oregon at Autzen Stadium.
While a 48-0 win typically signals complete and utter domination, there are always going to be performances that are deserving of recognition as well as ones that will need improvement.
Here are the winners and losers from Stanford's victory over Colorado this past Saturday.
Winner: Kevin Hogan
Kevin Hogan, a talented redshirt freshman quarterback, finally got is opportunity to show off his skills in this past Saturday's win against the Buffs.
Hogan took that opportunity and made the very most of it, completing 18 of 23 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball seven times for 48 yards. And remember, this occurred in just over two quarters of work.
All six drives led by Hogan ended in scores for the Cardinal.
One thing the Stanford offense has been missing this season is efficiency at the quarterback position. It's hard for anybody to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Luck, but simply having the ability to throw the ball will do wonders for the Cardinal offense.
They have a big, physical offensive line to go along with a powerful rushing attack. If Hogan can continue to provide a threat through the air and on the ground, Stanford will be a lot stronger in the final stretch of the season.
Loser: Josh Nunes
Josh Nunes won the starting quarterback battle over Brett Nottingham this summer and began the season by leading Stanford to three straight victories, including a 21-14 defeat of the USC Trojans.
But he's completed less than 50 percent of his passes in three out of the six games since the victory over USC and has thrown for over 200 yards just twice.
Against Washington State, Nunes went just 7-of-15 for 136 yards and one touchdown.
In a Stanford offense where establishing the running game is the primary objective, you won't see the quarterback put up big numbers very often. Even Andrew Luck failed to produce many games with eye-popping stats.
But while no one expected Nunes to be the next Luck, the hope was that he would at least develop into an accurate quarterback with the ability to throw the ball downfield.
That hasn't occurred, and after Kevin Hogan's breakout game against Colorado, Nunes may have a difficult time finding his way back onto the turf.
Winner: Cardinal Tight Ends
You won't find a more talented pair of starting tight ends than Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz in all of college football.
Saturday, they continued to show why they'll someday be playing in the NFL.
Toilolo had just three grabs on the day, but they went for 59 yards and a touchdown. Ertz had six catches of his own for 41 yards and a touchdown. That means the talented tight ends accounted for both scores through the air.
The numbers aren't huge, but they are another example of how important these two players have been to the Cardinal offense this season.
Without them, it's a safe bet that Stanford would have a couple more losses, and an already poor passing attack would be among the very worst in football.
Upcoming opponents should take note, if they haven't already: Make sure you're aware of where Ertz and Toilolo are at all times.
Loser: David Shaw
I have no qualms with David Shaw's coaching job in Saturday's 48-0 victory over Colorado. The score says it all.
But as a result of Shaw playing both Nunes and Hogan, a quarterback controversy has developed. It could ultimately be a good thing for this team, but midseason QB battles often bring unwanted media attention.
You might even say that playing Hogan was the right call. After all, he had an efficient performance after Nunes failed to put points on the board on two drives.
But Shaw is not the kind of coach that seems to relish the spotlight. However, questions have developed at quarterback, and the spotlight is exactly where he'll find himself and his quarterbacks this week.
Shaw has by no means been a bad coach this season, but it's fair to question how his decisions this past Saturday may affect the rest of the season.
What more can you say about the Stanford defense after their performance on Saturday?
Aside from the game against Arizona in which they allowed 48 points, they haven't allowed another opponent to put more than 20 on the scoreboard. They even held mighty USC, which scored 51 against Oregon, to just 14 points.
But Saturday was the cherry on the cake, as the unit held the Buffaloes to just 76 yards of total offense. For perspective, Oregon gained nearly 10 times that amount on Saturday.
They also pitched a shutout, which is hard to do no matter who you're up against.
The Stanford D continues to be the backbone of the team, and it will have to remain a strength with Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA coming up on the schedule.
Loser: Ty Montgomery
After missing the previous three games, Ty Montgomery returned to the field Saturday but managed just one catch for five yards.
Montgomery was expected to be the biggest threat for the Cardinal in the receiving game, but he's the team's fifth-leading receiver. His biggest game came against San Jose State where he had five grabs for 49 yards, and he has yet to reach the end zone.
You can't always expect players to return from injury and have career performances. But after a slow start to the season, it would've been nice to see Montgomery make more of an impact in the passing game.
Instead, he had statistically his worst game of the year against a terrible Colorado defense. Montgomery likely has better days in front of him, but Saturday was not a very good day for the young wideout.