Stanford beat Pitt in the Sun Bowl on Monday. Even by Stanford standards, this was an exceptionally Stanford-like victory for these reasons:
- It occurred at the Sun Bowl. It’s not that Stanford’s synonymous with playing in this middling bowl game. The Cardinal hadn’t been here since 2009. But in four of the previous seven Sun Bowls, nobody had scored more than 30 points. The game’s also on CBS, which makes it hard to find on a bowl slate dominated by ESPN, and that’s perfect for a team that plays in the Pac-12 and thus almost never gets seen by millions on the East Coast. It was also the site of a 3-0 game involving this same Pitt program a decade ago. 3-0!
- The final score was 14-13.
- The game-winning touchdown was this picturesque beauty:
This thing went in the books as a 0-yard fumble recovery TD by Cameron Scarlett, the Stanford running back who played this game in place of the injured Bryce Love. That’s not wrong, but it does not quite do justice to what it really was: a Pitt tackle for loss (basically a sack, though it goes down as a rush for no gain) that magically morphed into a TD pass.
And that just goes to show why a running back should always carry out his fake on play-action, continuing toward the goal line even if he doesn’t have the ball: when you’re Stanford facing Pitt in the Sun Bowl, it’ll probably, randomly just bounce to you.