Stanford Football: Cardinal season ends with a whimper and another streak ended

Stanford Football (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Stanford Football (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Stanford football team limped to the finish line after blowing a first-half lead against Notre Dame on Saturday. And with that, their season is woefully over.

The Stanford football program saw winning streak after winning streak crumble before their very eyes in what was a downright abysmal season for Cardinal football.

And now that the dust has settled, yet another winning streak has fallen as the Cardinal limped their way to the end of the season in truly fitting fashion.

Stanford entered Saturday’s game against Notre Dame with only pride to play for. They had already been eliminated from bowl contention for the first time since 2008 and this was guaranteed to be their final game of the season.

But in a season that saw their 10-year bowl streak, their nine-game winning streak against Cal, and their 11-year winning streak against UCLA all come to an end, Stanford was out to hold on to one of their only remaining streaks.

That streak was a 22-game non-conference home game streak that had been in existence since 2007 — the last time Notre Dame had won at Stanford Stadium.

And for the first portion of the game, Stanford was on their way towards shocking the college football world and ending what had been a disastrous season on a feel-good note.

Unfortunately, the Cardinal faithful just can’t have nice things. Not this year at least.

Stanford jumped out to a 17-7 lead and they were primed to take a two-score lead into the half against their heavily-favored rivals. But then with around five minutes to play in the half, disaster struck.

A Stanford special teams unit that had been so reliable all year suffered a complete breakdown when Notre Dame broke through to block a Ryan Sanborn punt. The Fighting Irish would recover the ball at the one and score moments later.

That blocked punt would be the start of a momentum swing that would remain in Notre Dame’s favor for the rest of the game. From that point on, the Fighting Irish would go on to score 31 unanswered points to take a 38-17 lead.

Another special teams blunder would come late in the third quarter when the normally sure-handed Michael Wison would muff a punt allowing a Notre Dame that was just stopped to take the field again and jumpstart the team.

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In typical Stanford fashion, the team repeatedly shot themselves in the foot until a game that was once in their control was a lost cause. And thus was the story of the 2019 Stanford football team.

Injuries decimated a season that had some promise before it ever really could take off. Going into the 2019 season, the Cardinal had four returning starters who were either first or second-team All-Conference players a year ago.

Those four players were K.J. Costello, Walker Little, Paulson Adebo, and Jet Toner. All four were injured for Saturday’s game with most of them sidelined for significant chunks of the season.

If there is a silver lining for Stanford it’s that they appear to have a solid option at quarterback going forward. Despite the team’s struggles, Davis Mills still finished 28-of-46 from the air for 276 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers — save for a garbage time fumble.

And out of their 22 starters, only two are set to graduate — although a junior such as Colby Parkinson might enter the NFL Draft early.

This team will grow, they will improve, and most of all, they will get healthier.

Next. Stanford Football: Two streaks end in fitting Big Game loss to Cal. dark

2019 will forever be known as a lost season for the Stanford Cardinal, but there will hopefully be brighter days ahead.