When Andrew Luck left the farm, we—along with the rest of the nation—thought that it might be the end of something special at Stanford.
Despite losing all-around superstar quarterback Luck to the NFL, the Cardinal did something they haven't done since the 20th century: win a conference championship and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl Game.
Rather than riding one player through the season, the Cardinal program has begun to develop strong presence at many positions. The depth now being built under head coach David Shaw is becoming evident and Stanford can now claim several stars, not just one.
But that doesn't mean the Cardinal play a game of hot potato when it comes to toting the football down the field. Senior running back Stepfan Taylor is the unquestioned leader of the offense, and he's become as big of a workhorse Stanford has these days.
Taylor's 1,442 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns easily lead the team, and he even ranks fourth among Cardinal receivers with 270 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
In fact, his 1,712 total offensive yards is just five yards behinds quarterback Jose Nunes' total output for 2012.
Given those numbers, is it any mystery what Stanford's bread and butter is this season?
The Pac-12 is home to some of the top rushing attacks in the nation, and with Taylor in the backfield, the Cardinal can count themselves among that group. What stands out about Taylor isn't his speed, it's his size. While he's capable of outrunning people, he's so dangerous because the player's he can't outpace, he simply runs through.
At 5'11" and 215 pounds, Taylor is all power, and running the ball off-tackle multiple times per quarter isn't unusual. Why do the Cardinal go back to this well so often?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.