For Turk Schonert, when it was his time to step in as the starting quarterback for Stanford, it was the next man up. Steve Dils and Guy Benjamin had led the NCAA in passing yards over the previous two seasons in Bill Walsh’s offense and he was certainly up to the task.
Schonert led the NCAA in passing during the 1979 NCAA season. During that campaign, he set a school record for completion percentage with a mark of 67 percent. Also, he led the program to a keystone tie on the road against the USC Trojans, who were the No. 1 ranked team in the country at the time.
In that game, Schonert erased a 21-0 halftime deficit, tying the Trojans 21-21, and ruining their chances at a national title. With John Elway on the roster as a freshman, Schonert and the Cardinal finished the season with a 5-5-1 record.
Had the current quarterback rating system been in place at the time, he would have the third-best season in school history behind only Kevin Hogan and Andrew Luck.
Tragically, Schonert died from a heart attack at 62-years-old, but his memory still lives on in all the numerous stops he made along his football journey. He was a football lifer and for Cardinal fans, he will be remembered as one of the better quarterbacks the program has ever seen.