Commentary

Overachieving Stanford dealing with injury woes

Updated: October 25, 2007, 1:06 PM ET
By Ted Miller | Special to ESPN.com
Stanford has shown impressive resilience under new coach Jim Harbaugh, exceeding all expectations with victories at USC and Arizona. But injuries keep piling up, particularly at tailback. The latest is senior Jason Evans, whose season and Stanford career are over because of a knee injury suffered late in the Arizona game. Evans had stepped in for Anthony Kimble (shoulder), who won't be available for the visit to Oregon State on Saturday. That makes redshirt freshman Tyrone McGraw the starting tailback. He had 50 yards on 16 carries against Arizona. There's little depth behind McGraw, though. Freshman Jeremy Stewart is also nursing a shoulder injury, while sophomore Toby Gerhart, who has missed five games with a knee injury, is doubtful.

Considering Oregon State is third in the nation in run defense (64.3 yards per game), it's unlikely the Cardinal would have been able to do much on the ground in any event. Still, this puts more pressure on quarterback Tavita Pritchard. Harbaugh didn't seem too worried about his sophomore quarterback, who guided the Cardinal to an upset victory at USC. "He's got a lot of moxie," he said. "He's shown he's not afraid of the big stage."

• Harbaugh and Oregon State coach Mike Riley are old friends. Harbaugh played for the San Diego Chargers when Riley was making his brief experiment as an NFL coach. Harbaugh said he learned to not "bully" players from Riley, but to motivate them with positive feedback.

Ted Miller | email

College Football