Stanford Trails in Early Going
Aug. 28, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - Most fans arrived at Stanford Stadium for Stanford's season-opening football game against Oregon State and immediately sought refuge from the heat.
As they say in the West, it was 'a dry heat,' but scorching nonetheless - 87 degrees at kickoff, down from a high of 100 on the Stanford campus earlier Thursday.
Once Stanford fans began to think about football, their thoughts likely wandered to the Stanford quarterback situation. Tavita Pritchard, the hero of last season's upset of USC, won the starting job in competitive fall camp.
However, it didn't take long for backup quarterback Alex Loukas to get involved. On the game's opening series, Loukas entered the game as a slot receiver, went in motion and caught a short pass.
The 3-yard gain wasn't enough to sustain a drive that included three runs for 18 yards by Anthony Kimble. However, the initial movement, combined with a 51-yard punt into the end zone helped Stanford in the field possession battle.
That appeared to be significant. After Oregon State was held without a first down, Johnny Hekker's punt was partially blocked by Stephen Carr, who charged in from the left side of Stanford's line and reached the ball with his left hand.
Despite great field position at Oregon State's 34-yard line, Stanford failed to cash in. Two Toby Gerhart runs for a total of two yards, and a Pritchard incompletion forced the Cardinal to try a 49-yard field goal. But Aaron Zagory's try was wide right.
Stanford's next series was significant for the appearance behind center of Loukas, who replaced Pritchard on second-and-two at Stanford's own 32. But Loukas lost three yards on two carries, including a sack, and Stanford failed to earn a first down for the second consecutive series.
Oregon State, however, traveled 53 yards downfield on the first significant drive by either team. After a facemask penalty, the Beavers had a first-and-goal at the seven. But Stanford's defense held. Brian Buicke stopped Jacquizz Rodgers for two yards, Wopamo Osaisai's hit kept receiver Sammie Stroughter from getting his feet down in the end zone for an incompletion, and Sione Fua got his first sack, on third down as the quarter ended.
End of the first quarter: Stanford 0, Oregon State 0
On the first play of the second quarter, Oregon State's Justin Kahut kicked a 27-yard field goal to give the Beavers a 3-0 lead.