Stanford defensive coordinator Scott Shafer's stock took a huge jump last Saturday after the Cardinals' 24-23 victory over USC. A year ago, Shafer was at Western Michigan, and after Jim Harbaugh was hired as Cardinal coach, he found Shafer through an Internet search.
Shafer told Graham Couch of the Kalamazoo Gazette that his bend-but-don't-break defense got the jolt of confidence it needed right before halftime with a goal-line stand against the Trojans.
"Obviously the opponent was overwhelming on tape with the talent level," Shafer said. "They can flat-out fly. The talent level on that field was unreal. ... We tried to focus on the controllables with our players. The kids hung on and, as the game went on, you could see it in their eyes.
"You hope the team you're playing will take you a little bit lightly and you get them on their heels. And if you make it a fourth-quarter game, anything can happen."
Shafer compared the victory to Northern Illinois' win at Alabama when he was the Huskies' defensive coordinator in 2003.
"Most of us as coaches have a few wins that we'll never forget,'' he said. "It was the same feeling [as at Alabama] during that last drive. Like deja vu.
"On the plane ride home [Saturday night], I started to say, 'What a victory for our kids. What a great day of college football.' That's when it hit me."