By the Numbers: Dominant defense can’t undo offensive woes

Nov. 17, 2014, 10:35 p.m.

With the 20-17 loss to Utah on Senior Day, the Stanford football team had some unfortunate statistics but also some seniors that shined in their final home game. It was also the first time that head coach David Shaw had lost two consecutive games.

4: Number of sacks allowed by Stanford offensive line against Utah

The Stanford offensive line had a rough afternoon and evening trying to keep senior quarterback Kevin Hogan upright, as the Utes front seven, which leads the Pac-12 conference in sacks, lived up to their SackLakeCity moniker. Hogan’s passing numbers suffered due to the lack of protection, as he posted a lackluster yards per attempt average. Ultimately, the struggles along the offensive line loomed large in double-overtime against the Utes, when Hogan was sacked on the first play from scrimmage in the second overtime period; Stanford could not move the chains after the first down loss, leading to a field goal from Jordan Williamson. Utah went on to win the game with a touchdown pass to Kenneth Scott.

2.2: Average rushing yards per carry allowed by Stanford defense

Prior to the overtime period, Stanford’s defense was absolutely dominant against Utah, sacking junior Utes quarterback Travis Wilson five times, while also completely stifling the Utes running game. While Utes running back Bubba Poole notched nearly 200 all-purpose yards in 2013’s matchup, Poole was limited to two all-purpose yards on Saturday, while his counterpart Devontae Booker was also held under 100 all-purpose yards. In his final game at home, fifth-year senior Henry Anderson was the best player for the Cardinal, notching 11 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

Ben Rhyne celebrated his Senior Day in style, averaging over 40 yards a punt and pinning the Utes inside their own 20 twice.  (DAVID BERNAL/David Bernal Photography)

40.2: Average distance per punt for fifth-year senior Ben Rhyne

Another senior who shined in his final game on the Farm was Rhyne, who was called upon to punt eight times on Saturday due to the offense’s struggles. The 2013 Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year did his best to keep the Cardinal in the game, pinning the Utes inside their own 20 on two occasions. Rhyne’s outstanding performance helped at least partially reduce the advantage in field position that the Utes held for most of Saturday’s contest; while the Utes’ average starting field position was their own 27-yard line, the Card had an average starting position at their own 17-yard line.

5-5: Cardinal record heading into Big Game with Cal

The Cardinal and the Golden Bears have taken different paths to their 5-5 records; while Cal has largely exceeded expectations under second-year head coach Sonny Dykes, the Cardinal have been unable to deal with the lofty, and perhaps unreasonable in retrospect, expectations for this season. Nevertheless, despite the records entering this contest, this rivalry game always means a lot to both schools’ alums. In addition to fighting for the Axe, which Stanford has held for the last four years, both squads can secure bowl eligibility with a victory.

Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’

David Cohn '15 is currently a Sports Desk Editor. He began his tenure at the Daily by serving as a senior staff writer for Stanford football and softball, and then rose to the position of assistant editor of staff development. He served as the Summer Managing Editor of Sports in 2014. David is a Biology major from Poway, California. In addition to his duties at the Daily, he serves as the lead play-by-play football and softball announcer for KZSU Live Stanford Radio 90.1 FM.

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