One, two, three more times, it came down to Shayne Skov, Trent Murphy and the Stanford defensive foundation.
And no, they weren’t going to break, not this time, even if Notre Dame tried a hundred times.
That’s not Stanford, not any more, mostly thanks to the group of defenders playing its final home game on Saturday.
“It’s been a long ride — I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” NFL-bound Skov said after Stanford’s 27-20 victory at Stanford Stadium.
“We’ve still got some games left … But it was a great way to go out.”
Stanford (now 10-2, its fourth-consecutive 10-win season) plays in the Pac-12 championship game at Arizona State next weekend, of course.
And if it wins that game, Stanford moves on to the Rose Bowl, a possible grand exit for Skov and Murphy — linebackers who both have exhausted their eligibility — and several redshirt juniors who also could leave for the NFL.
But on Saturday, it was wholly appropriate that Stanford needed the defense (and those defenders) to hold the opponent back three times in the last 9:11.
The results: Three-and-out, interception, interception (both by cornerback Wayne Lyons) … and Skov and Murphy flying everywhere throughout.
Game over, home-careers over, Stanford triumphant again.
It happened because the Stanford defense wobbled a bit in the third quarter when Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees threw two touchdown passes to bring the Irish back from a 21-6 deficit.
It happened because Stanford’s offense bogged down — and QB Kevin Hogan fired his second interception of the game early in the fourth quarter.
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
Bob Myers is a little too sharp for his college nickname, which is probably why it didn’t stick.
At UCLA, the Warriors general manager was known around campus as Forrest Gump because of his improbable journey from basketball walk-on to White House guest.
“I think where the nickname started is that I had no business playing at UCLA,” Myers said. “It just kind of happened.”
At age 37, life continues to be a box of chocolates for Myers. After his tenure at UCLA, he picked up a degree from the Loyola Law School, landed a gig with one of the world’s top sports agency firms and now he’s running the basketball team that he rooted for growing up in the East Bay.
“It’s like the UCLA thing,” Myers said. “GM of the Warriors? Come on, it doesn’t make sense.”
Myers’ trek from Monte Vista High School (Danville) to NBA general manager is wild enough to deserve its own silver-screen production, but he’s no longer being compared to a fictional idiot savant.
At this point, it’s clear that Myers, who was hired as the Warriors’ assistant GM in 2011 before being promoted to the top job in 2012, has risen to the top via relentless ambition and high character, traits that are also seeping into his basketball team.
“People gravitate toward a guy like that,” former UCLA basketball coach Jim Harrick said. “He’s an attractor, good people are attractors — all the kids on that team wanted to be around Bob Myers.”
–Paul Gackle, San Francisco Examiner
It’s becoming clear why Jim Harbaugh left Stanford. He was intellectually overqualified for college.
Earlier this year Harbaugh tipped his cap to Ralph Waldo Emerson, loosely quoting from Emerson’s essay, “Compensation.” The football coach was providing rationale for Colin Kaepernick embracing his Twitter tormentors. Harbaugh reminded us of Emerson’s pronouncement that “A great man … When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something … is cured of the insanity of conceit.”
Emerson’s wisdom had trickled down to Harbaugh from Woody Hayes, a major fan of Emerson, by way of Harbaugh’s father, a major fan of Hayes.
Monday night, after the 49ers snapped a near-disastrous two-game losing skid with a less-than-poetic win in Washington, Harbaugh said, “By any means necessary, you know?”
To those who remember the early days of the civil rights movement, that seemed like a nod to Malcolm X, who was the movement’s fire to Martin Luther King Jr.’s ice. In 1964, Malcolm X, shortly before he was murdered, made a famous declaration of the rights of black Americans, rights “which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”
Case closed on that reference? Nah. With Harbaugh, you always have to dig deeper. Malcolm X borrowed the phrase from existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, in whose 1948 play “Dirty Hands” (“Les Mains Sales”) a character says that lies could be abolished by eradicating social classes “by any means necessary.”
–Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle