By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Levine Toilolo spent most of his first 12 months at Stanford getting ready for last Saturday. Now he's going to spend the next 12 months preparing for next year's season opener against San Jose State on Sept. 3, 2011.
Toilolo (6-8, 263) earned the starting tight end role for No. 25 Stanford after preparing all year to put himself into contention. His season lasted all of two plays.
Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed Tuesday that Toilolo would miss the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He suffered the injury during the second play of Stanford's 52-17 season-opening victory over Sacramento State on Saturday.
"It's really unfortunate," Harbaugh said. "He had prepared so well for the year and risen to the starting job. I feel sickened by it. I wanted to give him a hug after he said, 'It's OK, coach, I'll be back.'"
Toilio caught a 27-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck and took a helmet to the knee. He will undergo surgery to repair the damage on a date to be determined.
"It sucks; there's no other way to put it," Luck said. "He's such a great kid. Fortunately there's a good support system for him here."
Toilolo slowly walked off the field under his own power after sustaining the hit. Trainers examined him on the field, icing his knee through most of the first quarter. He was then transported off the field and further testing revealed the full extent of the injury.
Toilolo was ranked as high as No. 4 nationally as a tight end recruit out of Helix Charter High in La Mesa. He sat out his freshman season and still managed to beat out veterans Konrad Reuland, a transfer from Notre Dame, and junior Coby Fleener to win the starting job.
Reuland has appeared in 22 games, 12 at Stanford, including three starts. Fleener has participated in 25 games with the Cardinal, also starting three games. One of them will likely replace Toilolo in the starting lineup.
In other injury news, receiver Chris Owusu, linebacker Shayne Skov and running back Jeremy Stewart, one of five running backs used against the Hornets, are all listed day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.
Catch of the game
Senior wide receiver Doug Baldwin had a career day Saturday, catching four passes for 111 yards, which included an 81-yard touchdown pass. He also caught a 15-yard scoring toss.
Baldwin was named Stanford's Offensive Player of the Game.
"He's always been a good competitor for us," Harbaugh said. "In 2008, we have Baldwin and (Ryan) Whalen from start to finish and there were no other receivers. They both played tough, through things and have been valuable members of the team."
Baldwin was limited to four catches for 78 yards total in seven games last year after seeing significant action his first two years.
"There were a lot of things going on," Baldwin said. "My mental state was in shambles and I had more of a negative attitude."
Producing a career-high in his first game of the season "means everything to me," he said. "As long as I could stand in there I had faith it would come put positive at the other end."
Fifth-year senior right tackle Derek Hall received mixed reviews a few days after making his first career start.
"He started out slow," Harbaugh said. "I'd say the first 18 play or so he wasn't as crops as he needed to be. He got better after the first 20 plays and that's a great sign."
James McGillicuddy, Hall's backup, was used in the backfield on a short-yard play near the goal line. He combined with fullback Owen Marecic to open a hole for one of the running backs.
Stanford was ranked 25th in the AP poll that was released Tuesday. The Cardinal spent four weeks in the AP poll last week, topping out at No. 14 after beating USC . . . Six true freshmen made their debuts against Sacramanto State. Stanford used six true freshmen all of last year . . . The Cardinal goes on the road this weekend, meeting host UCLA in the Rose Bowl, where Stanford has lost in its last six visits . . . Stanford has won its last two conference openers . . . The Cardinal is 5-11 on the road since the 2007 season.