NCAA FB

No. 8 Stanford staying focused through highs, lows

Share This Story

   
 

STANFORD, Calif. (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By ANTONIO GONZALEZAP Sports Writer

In control of a Pac-12 title and a Rose Bowl berth one week, out of the mix the next and now back in the hunt for both entering the regular-season finale.

The past three weeks have been a weird and wild stretch for Stanford, testing the team's focus and fortitude on and off the field. This one figures to be no different.

The eighth-ranked Cardinal (9-2) host No. 25 Notre Dame (8-3) Saturday in a nonconference game that has little more than pride at stake. No matter what happens against the Fighting Irish, Stanford will face No. 13 Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game for a spot in the ''Granddaddy of Them All.''

''I remind people that we don't go through all the ups and downs that maybe even the media and the fans go through because we keep our minds on our jobs,'' Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday. ''If we win a big game, they don't cancel the next week. If we lose a game, they don't cancel the next week. During the week, when people are lamenting and calling me names and the sky is falling when we lose and when people are exalting us and telling us how wonderful we are when we win, those things can't ever affect the football team or coaches because we move on and play the next week.''

That worry-about-this-week-and-nothing-else approach Shaw stresses has never carried the Cardinal more than in the past three weeks.

Stanford beat previously undefeated Oregon, lost a tight game at Southern California and routed rival California. And with Oregon's surprising loss at Arizona last Saturday, the Cardinal are the Pac-12's North Division champions again, needing to regroup and refocus for the finishing stretch.

''It's been very emotional,'' said wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who matched a Stanford record with five touchdowns in the win over Cal. ''You definitely learn a lot of lessons. It's kind of a blessing to experience some highs and some lows. Depending on how you look at it, you can always take something positive out of something negative. It's been a good experience to be able to learn from that and be able to fight and bounce back.''

BCS bowl hopes have flickered and faded each week, but the path is clear now: the only way Stanford likely makes a fourth straight BCS bowl is by winning the Pac-12 championship Dec. 7. If Arizona State beats Arizona this week, the league title game will be played in Tempe, Ariz. Otherwise, it will be held at Stanford.

The only impact the Notre Dame game will have on the Cardinal's postseason destination is if Stanford loses to Arizona State next week. In that case, a win against the Irish could be the difference between the Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl or Sun Bowl - which would all be major disappointments for a program that been a BCS staple of late.

With that in mind, Shaw and his players said they won't approach the Notre Dame game any differently.

''The hardest thing is parents and fans and media, things like that, as far as the Internet and Twitter. It's challenging to not get emotionally invested and things like that,'' outside linebacker Trent Murphy said. ''The biggest thing is just focusing on what we can control, which is usually our attitude and effort on the practice field. That's kind of where our attention is.''

What happened last year in South Bend should actually serve as more motivation.

Stanford's overtime loss to Notre Dame ended when officials ruled Stepfan Taylor was stopped short of the goal line on fourth down, and a video review - which some at Stanford still dispute - was ruled inconclusive. Finishing strong became the Cardinal's mantra after that loss, and they rolled off eight straight victories, including the Pac-12 championship game and the Rose Bowl.

Shaw said he won't talk about last season's loss with his players because it has no bearing on Saturday's outcome. Instead, he will focus on what he always has following any game - effort and execution.

''We don't go back in our rooms and cry, which for some reason is what people want us to do, because that's what some people do,'' Shaw said. ''When you have a stake in it, and you're in it, you take the lessons learned and you go forward.''

---

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Tagged: Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash