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WSU Notebook: Ready for Action

Nov 18, 2020

STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford quarterback Davis Mills has the luxury of a full week of practice before taking the field against visiting Washington State on Saturday night. 

Because of COVID-19 protocols, Mills was among four players scratched for the opener against Oregon on Nov. 7 and not cleared until a day before the Nov. 14 game against Colorado. 

With only a short Friday practice to prepare, Mills still completed 31 of 56 passes for 327 yards in the 35-32 loss to Colorado, passing for one TD and with no interceptions. It was the most passes by a Stanford QB in a game since 2007, when T.C. Ostrander threw 59 against UCLA.

"The rust was there," said David Shaw, Stanford's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. "It's a tough spot to put him in. But he came back in the second half and really found his rhythm, like we know he's capable of."

Mills drove the team to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, capping each with a two-point conversion throw in trying to rally the Cardinal from a 19-point deficit. Mills passed for 167 yards on those drives alone. 
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WITH THE SUDDEN rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Santa Clara County moved into the purple tier, the most restrictive level for businesses and activities, on Monday. 

On Tuesday, Shaw said there were no immediate changes in the team's preparation or in hosting Washington State at Stanford Stadium on Saturday (7:30 p.m.). 

"We've gotten some guidance from the county and we'll continue to seek their counsel on that," Shaw said. "We trained in small groups throughout the summer. If we have to go back to doing that, we will. Our guys are used to adjusting. We'll adjust and continue to prepare to play."
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Virtual parents had great seats for the home opener. Photo by Bob Drebin/

THE COLORADO GAME marked the first sporting event at Stanford since Sunday, March 8, when Stanford beat Arizona State in women's water polo, 9-8, at Avery Aquatic Center, and the Cardinal baseball team lost to Kansas State, 6-1, at Sunken Diamond. 

From 3:36 p.m. on March 8, when Grant Burton struck out swinging to end the baseball game, until 12:35 p.m. on Nov. 14, when Stanford's Nathaniel Peat returned the opening kickoff 22 yards, the elapsed time without a home competition was 8 months, 5 days, 20 hours, and 59 minutes. 
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SENIOR DEEP THREAT Osiris St. Brown was among the four held out against Oregon, but also remained on the sideline against Colorado. St. Brown's situation was unique in that he was recovering from injury at the time of the COVID-19 protocol, but is expected to play Saturday.

"We didn't feel comfortable coming off the injury with no practice, putting him out there," Shaw said of the receiver. "That would have done him a disservice. But he looks good, he feels good. He'll be involved this week."
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THIS IS THE first time Stanford faces new Washington State coach Nick Rolovich, a Bay Area native who spent the past four years as head coach at Hawai'i.   

"We watched a lot of what they did at Hawai'i," Shaw said. "He's really good at utilizing personnel within his offense. There are years where maybe they weren't the best deep ball team, and he killed you underneath, with high percentage passes and run-after-catch opportunities. And last year, they launched the ball down the field multiple times a game. He gets guys opportunities to make plays."
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WASHINGTON STATE COACH Nick Rolovich, at his weekly press conference: 

"David Shaw has done such a great job. He's a great representative for our conference. He's an excellent communicator, very level-headed. That's why he's so involved in what's going on in the conference, because people trust him and trust that he'll do the right thing."