San Jose State at No. 21 Stanford, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Line: Stanford by 26
Series Record: Stanford leads 50-14-1
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Redshirt junior Josh Nunes makes his first career start at quarterback and begins the post-Andrew Luck era in Stanford’s first game since a 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2. Junior college transfer David Fales also will make his first start at quarterback for San Jose State, which made great strides last year, going 5-7 in coach Mike MacIntyre’s second season after posting a 1-12 record in 2010.
San Jose State’s run defense vs. Stanford’s run offense. Luck was hardly needed in Stanford’s 57-3 romp over San Jose State last season. The Cardinal piled up 141 yards rushing on 40 carries and the Spartans could do nothing to slow a physical offensive line.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Stanford: RB Stepfan Taylor. The senior running back could probably be penciled in this spot every week, but he could be especially important with a first-time starting quarterback in the opener. With 1,330 yards rushing last season, Taylor became just the third back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Darrin Nelson (1977-78) and Toby Gerhart (2008-09).
San Jose State: Fales. Any chance the Spartans have for an upset will fall on Fales to do something special. He completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns in two seasons at Monterey Peninsula College before transferring to San Jose State before spring practice.
FACTS & FIGURES
Stanford has won the last four meetings. … San Jose State’s last victory against a ranked team was a 27-24 win over No. 9 TCU at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 4, 2000. The Spartans are winless against 19 ranked teams since. … San Jose State had six fumbles and lost three in last year’s season opener at Stanford Stadium. … The annual contest is still referred to as the Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Walsh, the Hall of Fame coach of the 49ers, graduated from San Jose State and had two coaching stints at Stanford. Walsh’s last stint (1992-94) came when Cardinal coach David Shaw was a wide receiver. Walsh died in 2007.
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