Stanford has established four of the school's top five single-season rushing marks each of the last four seasons. Last year's final total of 2,738 yards ranks third on the all-time single-season list, slightly behind the school-record mark of 2,837 compiled by the 2009 squad and the 2,779 yards amassed by the 2010 Orange Bowl team.
With two of its top three rushers returning from a year ago, including Doak Walker Award candidate Stepfan Taylor, along with a young stable of hungry backs looking to take on larger roles, Stanford will again rely on a power running game to key an offense that has set school-scoring records each of the last three seasons.
"We believe we will impose our will on everybody we play," said running backs coach Mike Sanford. "Every defense has its breaking point and we're looking to move past that breaking point."
Head coach David Shaw calls Taylor "the most underrated back in college football" - and for good reason. Operating in the huge shadows cast by Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck, Taylor has quietly rushed for 2,770 yards and 27 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
Taylor enters his final campaign needing 1,263 more to tie Darrin Nelson's all-time school rushing record while his 27 career rushing touchdowns currently rank third in Stanford's career annals. He is one of six Stanford backs to record a 1,000-yard season and just the third back to register back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, joining Nelson (1977-78) and Gerhart (2008-09).
Bears on the loose
The Menlo-Atherton High football team spent its annual Community Service Work Day painting the town of East Palo Alto. The Bears also did a lot of landscaping, trash removal and graffiti removal.
The Bears joined forces with parents and coaches for the project and was supported by the Music & Arts Project (MMAP), the East Palo Alto Police Department, Police Activities League (PAL), and Home Depot.
Several groups were formed and spread throughout the city to do their good deeds.
Stanford sophomore Patrick Rodgers advanced to match play at the U.S. Amateur in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Rodgers shot a 2-under 68 at CommonGround Golf Course on Tuesday for an even-par 141.
Cardinal senior Steve Kearney did not make the cut after his 4-over 75 at Cherry Hills Country Club for a 6-over 147.