The Stanford Cardinal are ranked 26th in the nation when it comes to rushing yards and their main weapon in the backfield is running back Tyler Gaffney.
Gaffney, a 6 foot 1 inch 226 pound senior, is the leading rusher for the Cardinal. He ranks eighth in the nation racking up 1,485 yards on 284 carries and averages 5.2 yards per attempt. His performances this season have earned him a spot as a Doak Walker Award semifinalist and he was named to the All-Pac-12 second team.
The San Diego native is fresh off his best performance of the season after Stanford beat Notre Dame in their season finale 27-20 in Palo Alto, Calif. Gaffney was eleven yards short of that elusive 200-yard mark but still managed to reach the end zone once.
The Stanford offensive line can be credited for much of Gaffney’s success. They are notorious not only for their pass protection, but for their run blocking as well, especially in their “elephant” package featuring eight offensive linemen. They have led the way for Gaffney to score 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, and to be tenth player in Stanford history to rush for more than 2,000 career yards. He is third on the Cardinal’s list for rushing yards in one season, behind Stepfan Taylor’s 1,530 yards in 2012 and Toby Gerhart’s 1,871 yards in 2009.
Arizona State and Stanford met in week four of the college football season and the result was not a positive one for ASU, as the Cardinal dominated them 42-28, giving the Sun Devils their first loss of the season. The ASU defense contained Gaffney to under 100 yards but he still ran for two touchdowns.
Arizona State’s defense has faced top rushers before as they held Washington’s Bishop Sankey to 22 yards and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey to 157 yards. Both players are ranked in the top five among the nation’s rushing leaders, but only had one touchdown each against ASU.
Gaffney returned to the Stanford football team for his final season to finish his degree after taking a hiatus to play professional baseball. The graduate of Cathedral Catholic High School was one of the best high school football players in California history, as he won a state championship and holds several records. He was selected to the San Diego Tribune All-Time All-County first team and was the nation’s top fullback prospect according to SuperPrep Magazine, third by Scout and fourth by Rivals.