We'll start with a postgame comment from coach David Shaw -- the quote that best captures not only Stanford's win Saturday but also Stanford's season to date:
"We're not a great team right now, but we're getting better. And the one thing we have is guys who have won a lot of games. You can't discount that experience."
Based on talent and execution, the Cardinal is not a 4-1 team right now -- Washington and Arizona are average teams, at best, and Stanford was 45 seconds away from getting swept.
But that experience -- Shaw could have said moxie, savvy, poise, maturity; they all fit -- fills the gap between Stanford's talent/execution and its record.
Result: Beat Arizona 54-48 (OT)
Comment: Sizzling offense, shoddy defense -- not exactly the expected script.
Arizona's defense is BAD.
If the Cardinal puts up half that many points this week, then it might be time to declare the wobbly offense a thing of the past.
But he rarely had to throw out of rhythm or into narrow windows.
His receivers were, for the most part, easy targets against the soft Wildcat defense (9th in the league against the pass, 10th in total defense, 11th against the run).
He'll have good games and bad games. He's tough, he's resourceful, and he's a 50 — 55 percent passer.
Skeptical fans hoping for a change should stop wasting their time:
Unless the situation gets dire -- a few bad games does not constitute dire -- there will be no change.
A handful of important players were hurt, including (but not limited to) receiver Ty Montgomery (knee/leg) and cornerback Terrence Brown (kicked in the head).
I'd estimate the turnstile count was somewhere in the high-30,000s.
First, UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox showed the best way to contain the running game, then RichRod and the Wildcats carved up Stanford's highly-rated defense.
How many teams are capable of doing both? I can think of one, for sure, but it's six weeks away.
Can either of the next two?
Next up: at Notre Dame
The matchup: The point spread -- Stanford is a 9.5-point underdog -- should give you a sense for the challenge awaiting in South Bend.
The Cardinal has won three in a row, but this is the best Irish team in that span, by far.
Don't be surprised if it's close and low scoring -- more like the Stanford-Washington game than what we saw from the Cardinal and Arizona.
Nunes must stay calm in the face of Notre Dame's pressure and in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus. Without downfield completions, Stanford's running game will have a tough afternoon.
At the same time, Stanford must contain UND's rushing attack (187.4 ypg) and force quarterback Everett Golson to win the game through the air.
First team to 20 wins.