not tired or fatigued; brisk; vigorous: She was still fresh after that long walk.
After yesterday’s heart-attack inducing victory over Arizona State, it struck me just how far Stanford Football has come in 4 years under Coach Jim Harbaugh. In a game where ASU’s defense essentially shut down Stanford’s vaunted offense for 3 and a half quarters, we somehow found a way to win and execute when it mattered most. Stanford fans have become accustomed to letdowns over the past few years – as recently as 2005, we were unable to hold a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter against the 8th ranked UCLA Bruins – and I’d be lying if I said a part of me didn’t expect us to blow our magical season away last night as well.
Instead, when Stanford got the ball back with 3:58 remaining and a 4 point lead, we were able to run out the clock and end the game by picking up 48 yards and 3 crucial first downs. Although we had only managed 87 rushing yards until this point, Stanford flexed its muscle and pounded the exhausted Sun Devils defense for 47 yards on the ground to clinch the game. Stanford looked fresh and played with a confidence and swagger that had been foreign for too many years.
The epitome of Stanford’s new attitude came on the 7th play of the drive – running back Anthony Wilkerson broke through the ASU defense for what would have been a guaranteed 24-yard touchdown run, but instead intentionally downed the ball at the 4 yard line to let the clock run out. He could have scored the touchdown to pad his personal stats and nobody would have faulted him (we would have had a near-insurmountable 11-point lead with 1:38 remaining), but instead he made the selfless play to guarantee a victory for the team.
The determination that Stanford displayed yesterday directly reflects the unmatched passion and attitude that Coach Harbaugh brings to the team. With Harbaugh leading the Cardinal, we finally have a team that will never back down. Go Card!