A kicker. He’s aloof. He’s odd. He’s barely even football player. But throughout the story of a football game, he plays a critical role in determining how the story will end. Sometimes the role he plays the role of a villain. Sometimes he is the hero. Tonight, the kicker starred in the role of both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The story of this game its ups and downs. The score and momentum seesawed back and forth. SC would score a touchdown, Stanford would answer. When Stanford would score SC would respond likewise. The result is a close game as we start the final act with every point, whether it is 1, 3 or 6 being considered critical. Stanford, up 34-28 with 9:07 to go, sends out its kicker for a routine extra point try.
Cue Mr. Hyde, portrayed by Stanford kicker Nate Whitaker. Extra point missed, hitting the left upright.
With a little over a minute left in the game, Stanford down 35-34, in jeopardy of losing 2 games in a row, in jeopardy of possibly falling out of the top 25, in jeopardy of falling into a tie for next to last in the PAC-10, drives 62 yards into field goal position with an opportunity to win the game.
Thankfully for Cardinal fan, Whitaker finds a way to quiet his inner Mr. Hyde and summons his inner Dr. Jekyll and promptly nails the 30 yard game winner.
Stanford was obviously weary from its beat down from Oregon last week, but was aided in the last minute by a moronic 15 yard personal foul penalty from SC linebacker Chris Galippo that allowed Whitaker’s opportunity for redemption.
Stanford got a solid performance from Andrew Luck. He was remarkably efficient going 20 for 24 and throwing for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns with no picks. And the Stanford front seven did a superb job of stifling SC’s running game.
Stanford enters its bye week on a positive note and will return to Stanford Stadium on the 23rd versus the cellar dwelling Cougars of Washington State.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Williams
32 year-old sports fan who has the audacity to think that he could be good at this sports writing thing. I'll be honest. I'll be snarky. I'll be sarcastic. Maybe not in that order. It is my goal to ensure that my opinions will generate a response from you, dear reader. Good, bad or indifferent, I welcome your replies.