Stanford football followers were going to have something to cheer about no matter who won Sunday's NFL opener between the host San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park.
For the 49er fans, they had former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh to pull for. Harbaugh was making his debut as an NFL head coach and there was plenty riding on the outcome.
For the Seahawk fans, they had former Stanford wide receiver Doug Baldwin to root for. Baldwin, a rookie wide receiver, wound up catching four passes for 83 yards while averaging 20.8 yards per catch to lead Seattle. Among his receptions was a 55-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter that brought Seattle to within 19-17 with just 3:56 left to play.
That was before Ted Ginn Jr. of the Niners returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and, after Seattle was forced to punt, returned that kick 55 yards for another score as the 49ers pulled away for 33-17 triumph.
In another NFL opener involving former Stanford players, Toby Gerhart had two carries for 16 yards in Minnesota's 24-17 loss to host San Diego.
Stanford sophomore Nicole Gibbs had a busy stay in New York the past few weeks while competing at the US Open, in the Junior Girls' division.
Gibbs, a 2011 ITA All-American, played 12 matches at the US Open, starting in the women's singles qualifying on Aug. 24 and finishing in the semifinals of the junior singles and doubles events on Sept. 10.
In junior singles, Gibbs won four matches and reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Grace Min, 6-3, 6-3.
Gibbs opened with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Patricia Iveth Ku Flores of Peru before upending No. 4 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, 6-0, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3. In the Round of 16, Gibbs advanced with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Nicole Townsend. That earned her a berth in the quarterfinals, where she ousted No. 6 seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In doubles, Gibbs and partner Kyle McPhillips fell to No. 6 seeds and eventual champs Irina Khromacheva of Russia and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals.
Gibbs enters the 2011-12 season ranked No. 7 in singles in the Campbells/ITA preseason rankings. Cardinal teammates Stacey Tan (No. 12), Kristie Ahn (No. 15) and Mallory Burdette (No. 17) are all among the top 20. Incoming freshman Ellen Tsay is ranked No. 3 among the Freshman/Newcomers.
For doubles, Burdette and Gibbs are ranked No. 11 nationally while Ahn and Tsay are No. 39.
In the men's national preseason rankings, Stanford's Ryan Thacher is No. 14 and Dennis Lin comes in No. 64.
Cardinal senior Bradley Klahn is not ranked, after originally planning on taking the fall off while playing in some pro events. According to Stanford head coach John Whitlinger, however, Klahn is slightly injured and will not play in any fall tournaments. He'll be ready to go in January and won't be ranked until February.