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2012 Fiesta Bowl: Stanford Coach David Shaw Makes Curious Decisions

The Stanford Cardinal seemed to be on their way to a crucial victory that would give them a huge Fiesta Bowl victory over the Oklahoma St. Cowboys. Andrew Luck had driven the team all the way down into field goal range with still a minute on the clock, and it looked like Stanford would only need a few more yards to pick it up.

But then Stanford did a strange thing. They stopped moving the football.

Luck drove the Cardinal all the way from the Stanford 20 to the Oklahoma State 25 in a minute and a half, and with the game tied, all Stanford needed was another 25 yards in 50 second and the Cardinal would be in a dominant position.

Yet, Stanford head coach David Shaw ordered two straight runs to try and give Stanford a short field goal and ensure the Cowboys didn't get the ball back. The result was a hooked Jordan Williamson field goal that sent the 2012 Fiesta Bowl into overtime.

However, that wasn't quite as puzzling as the run-play selection early in the first overtime. With 1st and 10 at the 25, Stanford picked up five yards on the ground, lost them on a line penalty to make it 2nd and 10, and then ran the football again and got stuffed. Stanford was forced into a short throw on 3rd and long and Williamson sailed another field goal wide left, setting up Oklahoma State's eventual victory.

What was David Shaw thinking? Why didn't he put the football in the hands of Luck to win this game?

To discuss Shaw and Stanford football, head to Rule of Tree.