No. 7 Stanford will play its second Friday-night game of the season this week, and for wide receiver Michael Rector, this one – a road game at No. 10 Washington – will be the one to remember. Yes, Stanford’s 26-13 season-opening win over Kansas State was nice, but this week carries special meaning for Rector, a Washington native.
“Obviously that’s going to be a special moment for me,” Rector said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I was committed to Washington for nine months there when I was in high school. Where I’m from, you’re kind of born with a Washington stamp on your birth certificate. Everybody wants to go to Washington. So it’s definitely a hard decision for me to come to Stanford, but I still do think that was the best decision for me. Friday night lights, up in Seattle, my last year in college football – I think it’s going to be a very exciting game.”
Stanford (3-0) and Washington (4-0) are both undefeated, but both were pushed to the limit this past Saturday. Washington beat Arizona, 35-28, in overtime, while Stanford held off UCLA, returning a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game to win 22-13.
Stanford actually trailed that game 10-6 entering the fourth quarter. Why the struggles?
“I don’t know,” Rector said. “Maybe it was our first road game. We could have all the excuses in the world, but for us, it’s just about us, especially going into this next big week. Another game on the road. We’re trying to focus on being more efficient and trying to stay away from all the penalties that we had against UCLA. I think that kind of slowed us down at the beginning of the game and kept us out of the end zone.”
Still, Stanford is clearly the cream of the Pac-12 crop and has as good a chance as anyone of making the College Football Playoff.
Perhaps that’s one reason why David Shaw has no interest in coaching at LSU. When asked about possibly leaving Palo Alto for Baton Rouge in the wake of Les Miles’ firing, Shaw reportedly said, “Are you serious? The answer is no.”
This is why Rector and his teammates love playing for Shaw.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I think that shows over the past few years when he’s been the head coach, how he’s been able to keep a winning tradition here. But on top of that, he’s just an even better person than he is a coach. I think that’s what really motivates the players that he has. It really motivates us to play for him and want to play for him. It’s just how he is as a person. We kind of see him as a father figure, not just a coach. His door’s always open for us. We can go talk to him about whatever’s on our mind, whether it’s football-related or not. And so, I think it’s just that special relationship that he has with each one of his players that makes him the coach he is.”