Stanford almost lost to Bay Area rival San Jose State Friday night, but don't blame the close game on new starting quarterback Josh Nunes. Coach David Shaw certainly isn't.
"Josh played great tonight," Shaw said. "He played extremely well and was very poised under pressure. San Jose State gave us a few looks we had not seen and Josh handled it all very, very well."
In his debut under center, Nunes went 16 for 26 while throwing for 125 yards and a touchdown in Stanford's 20-17 win. The senior quarterback showed no early game jitters, directing two touchdown drives the first two times Stanford touched the ball. "It was everything I dreamed," Nunes said of his first start. "I wasn't nervous at all."
Nunes will probably hear the name Andrew Luck a few times this season and when he does, he can point out that he had a similar debut. In his first start at Stanford, Luck completed 11 of 23 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in a 2009 win over Washington State. Although Nunes didn't come close to Luck's yardage, he was more efficient in his debut than the NFL's No. 1 overall pick was in his first collegiate game.
Perfect night: Missing a clutch kick or two can turn a kicker into a head case, but don't tell that to Stanford's Jordan Williamson. In Friday's 20-17 win over San Jose State, Williamson went 2 for 2 on field-goal attempts, including a career-long 46-yarder just before halftime. The sophomore seems to have put his 1 for 4 performance in last season's 41-38 Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State behind him. "I thought he had a heck of a night," Shaw said.
Taylor-made for running: Running back Stepfan Taylor finished Friday's game with 116 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The 116 yards marks the eighth time in Taylor's career that he's crossed the century mark. Taylor is now tied for the second-most 100-yard rushing games in school history, behind only Toby Gerhart (11).
Amanam the amazing: The most impressive defensive performance of the game came from Stanford DB Usua Amanam. Amanam, who was converted from a running back to a defensive back in April 2011, had two of Stanford's three sacks and recoverd the game's only fumble. "During training camp, I kind of put that name out and you saw why," Shaw said. "He's quick, he's explosive, he's not the biggest guy, but he's about the most determined guy. He played a great game." Amanam also recorded a team-high 4.0 tackles for a loss. All of this in his first collegiate start.
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