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Notebook: Colgate

Sep 1, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. -- Saturday's opener against Colgate marks another year in the passage of time that helps identify Stanford as a foundation of West Coast football.

Consider, this will be Stanford's 115th football season. If you count the rugby years (1906-1918), it's the 128th. 

It's been 130 years since Stanford's first game, a 10-6 victory over Hopkins Academy, an Oakland prep school, on Jan. 30, 1892.

This also marks 100 years since Stanford's first full season at Stanford Stadium, a facility that opened for the Big Game in 1921. Stanford's first victory on Stanford Stadium turf was Oct. 14, 1922, a 7-0 triumph over Santa Clara.  

Over its history, Stanford has 758 victories, 275 players drafted in the NFL, 68 different first-team All-Americans, 30 bowl appearances, 15 conference titles, seven Rose Bowl triumphs, and two national championships. 

What will be the lore, legacy, and memories of 2022? We'll begin to find out on Saturday.

 

The first full football season at Stanford Stadium was 100 years ago. 

 
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THE CARDINAL ENTERS at full strength. 

"We're relatively healthy," said David Shaw, Stanford's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. "Especially in our two-deep." 

That means all the weapons are at Stanford's disposal – such as quarterback Tanner McKee, running backs E.J. Smith and Casey Filkins, tight end Benjamin Yurosek, and receivers Elijah Higgins, John Humphreys, Brycen Tremayne, and Michael Wilson. 

The Cardinal depth chart presents four first-time starters: fifth-year fullback Jay Symonds, sophomore defensive tackle Anthony Franklin, freshman edge David Bailey, and fifth-year nickelback Patrick Fields, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma. 
 
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THIS WILL BE Stanford's first contest against Colgate, a private liberal arts university of fewer than 3,000 undergraduates founded in 1819 in Hamilton, New York, and regarded as one of the "Little Ivies." 

The FCS program is coming off a 5-6 season from coach Stan Dakosty's first year, finishing second in the Patriot League with a 5-1 conference record. It's most recent contest against a Power Five school was a 51-0 season-opening loss at Boston College last year. 

The program's best known football alum, at least in the Bay Area, is Mark van Eeghen, a 1,000-yard rusher during the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl-winning season of 1976. 
 
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Tanner McKee. Photo by Scott Gould/ISIphotos.com.

 
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HOW DOES COLGATE play?

"They've been a fly sweep team, a quarterback-run team, and a play-action pass team," Shaw said. "They presented a lot of different looks over the course of last year."

Linebacker Ricky Miezan likes the matchup against Colgate's Michael Brescia, a quarterback who likes to run. 

"We'll see a bunch of athletic quarterbacks throughout the year, so it's a perfect first game for us," Miezan said. 

"We've said it from the start, this is a culture game," he said. "This is a character game. We don't prepare any differently for this game than we would against USC. The biggest thing we want to focus on is the work we need to do to get where we want to be."
 
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THE LINE WILL be the key to the success for the Stanford offense, something that second-year starting center Drake Nugent welcomes. 

"Everyone knows how much firepower we have," Nugent said. "If we can protect Tanner and make holes for E.J. and Casey … if we can allow Tanner to deliver the ball down the field to all the big receivers … It's really up to us. We'll make it or break it."

The projected starting offensive line of left tackle Walter Rouse, left guard Jake Hornibrook, center Nugent, right guard Branson Bragg, and right tackle Myles Hinton has combined for 78 starts. 
 
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Walter Rouse. Photo by Scott Gould/ISIphotos.com.

ON ROUSE, a senior biomechanical engineering major who has started 29 of the 30 games since he arrived in 2019: 

"He's a beast, honestly," Nugent said. "He's everything you look for in a left tackle. He's been lockdown in pass-pro all camp. 

"He's developed a lot, with all that experience. One thing I've noticed this year about him is that his understanding of the game has definitely grown a lot more, to where he's looking at linebacker depth. His feel for the game has definitely increased."
 
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BY STARTING AT nickelback, Fields shows that the secondary will be dynamic. Fields was a three-year starter at free safety at Oklahoma.

"We've got one of the best defensive back coaches in America in Duane Akina," Shaw said. "He's got a lot of options right now. An extremely veteran group, with a lot of fourth- and fifth-year seniors.

"We've got a lot of flexibility with Jonathan McGill, who can play nickel and safety. And Patrick's come in and he's been a quick study. He's learned both safety positions and the nickel. We're going to begin here, but you'll see Jonathan at nickel and Patrick at safety most likely during the game as well."
 
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McGILL, WHO missed the first 10 games last year because of injury before seeing action in the last two, is something of a coach on the field. 

"He just brings another dimension because he is such a student of the game and has such high football IQ," said Lance Anderson, the Willie Shaw Director of Defense. "Last year, he was very frustrated not playing and asked us if he could sit in on some of our coaching staff meetings, to get an idea of how we game plan and how we do things. 

"He's the kind of kid who eats that up. He can't get enough football. It was fun having him in those meetings."

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BAILEY, A UNANIMOUS four-star recruit out of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, has broken into the starting lineup as a true freshman. At 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, he will play the edge position opposite Stephen Herron on the other side. They will flank tackles Tobin Phillips and Anthony Franklin in Stanford's new 4-3 base defense. 

"Most coaches, and myself included, really are slow to heap praise, especially publicly, on a freshman," Shaw said. "I have no problem with heaping praise on David. He wants to learn, he wants to grow. He's humble enough to look at his flaws and try to improve. 

"This young man is long, strong, physical, and explosive. He's not one of those guys whom we say, 'We know he's got a lot of talent, but let's not start him right away. Let's work him in.' He's not that way.

"We're got to put him out there and let him play. He'll make some freshman mistakes, but he's going to make some plays that very few other people are capable of making."