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Balance Rules In Spring Game

May 22, 2021

STANFORD, Calif. – The Cardinal and White Spring Game was about as balanced as one might hope for – some defensive highlights, some offensive. And the best part? No apparent injuries on Saturday at Stanford Stadium as the team wrapped up spring workouts and turned an eye toward fall camp about 2 ½ months away. 

This was not a split-squad game, but rather a series of possessions with different personnel. In the first half, drives began on the distance side of the 50. The other half was red-zone work, with drives beginning at the defense's 25-yard line or closer. 

There were 46 plays, not including field-goal attempts, with 19 runs by nine backs for 75 yards. Six quarterbacks took the field and combined to complete 16 of 27 passes for 135 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Jack West was on the field for the first play and led four possessions. Tanner McKee led three, Dylan Plautz and Ari Patu two apiece and Beau Nelson one. Isaiah Sanders ran the ball on one play. 

McKee had the best stats of the QBs, completing 6 of 8 for 68 yards with one touchdown pass. West was 4 for 8 for 4 yards and Plautz was 4 of 5 for 38. Patu completed 2 of 4 for 25 and had a TD throw. 


E.J. Smith on the carry. Photo by Bob Drebin/

The defense had three sacks – the no-touch variety to protect the quarterbacks -- and could have been credited for another on McKee's 18-yard TD pass down the middle to Brycen Tremayne. The defense had five other tackles for loss, including one on a screen pass by inside linebacker Jacob Mangum-Farrar on the contest's third play. 

It wasn't until the fourth possession that the offense got into the end zone. Justus Woods carried 7 yards up the middle for the first of the game's four touchdowns. The TD wrapped up a 10-play, 52-yard drive. 

In the red-zone portion, the offense collected two more TD's – an 18-yard run by E.J. Smith, who took a step forward and cut outside, getting to the edge and beating the defense to the pylon. 

Patu, an early enrollee who would be graduating from Folsom High about now, was impressive on two consecutive passes to tight ends that put the offense in the end zone from the 25. The first was zipped to Bradley Archer for 19 yards. Patu then executed a misdirection bootleg pass to Benjamin Yurosek for the score from 6 yards. 

Leading returning rusher Austin Jones carried the ball twice early on, for seven yards, but the top ground-gainer was Smith with three carries for 27. Casey Filkins had four carries for 19 and caught a pass for 9 more. Tremayne caught three passes for 35 yards. 

The attention now shifts. The September 4 opener against Kansas State in Arlington, Texas, doesn't seem so far away.