Todd Husak Takes a Look at Saturday's Big Game
Nov. 21, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - Big Game on Saturday is living up to its name for the first time in years. The Stanford-Cal rivalry is always big for the players, but the implications in this year's game are huge with a bowl berth on the line for the Cardinal. For Stanford, the seniors are looking at their last regular season game in a Stanford jersey and the emotions are going to be running high. I think this game is going to be less about X's and O's, and more about being strong physically and mentally. How can Stanford make sure the season doesn't end this weekend?
Play with controlled emotion
Stanford is playing its most important game in seven years. This will be the final regular season game for the seniors, but a victory on Saturday would not only retain the coveted Axe, but would give Stanford the opportunity to play in a bowl game. Emotions will be running high. However, emotions can get the better of players if they allow it. Stanford has to come out with controlled aggression and dominate like they did in the first half against USC and not let the excitement show itself in penalties or missed assignments.
I thought the first quarter against the Trojans was the best effort Stanford has put together on offense and defense all season, and the reason was the Cardinal beat USC to the punch. The offensive and defensive lines need to dominate the line of scrimmage and that leaves players like Owen Marecic on offense and Clinton Snyder on defense free to run downhill and bring big hits.
Win the special teams
David Green and Bryan Anger are going to be tested.
Stanford controlled the first half against USC but was unable to do anything after the break. The Cardinal need to play a complete game, something they haven't done since Washington State game. Stanford has the ability to win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and once the opportunity is there to put the game away with turnovers and scoring touchdowns in the red zone, Stanford cannot let any slip away.