Stanford’s Taylor keeping Sacramento State guessing if it’ll be Daniels or Lamson at QB on Saturday

Daniels was knockout out of the loss to USC before halftime, and Lamson led two scoring drives

Stanford will not announce its starting quarterback before kickoff for the second time in three games.

Sophomore Ashton Daniels made his first start of the season in the season opener, a decision kept under wraps by first-year Cardinal head coach Troy Taylor. Daniels threw two touchdown passes and ran for 42 yards as Stanford defeated Hawaii 37-24, appearing to cement his starting spot. Daniels, on the other hand, threw an interception on the first drive against USC and was 2 of 7 passing for 19 yards before leaving the game early in the second quarter with an apparent arm injury.

Transfer to Syracuse Justin Lamson finished the game against the Trojans, leading both Stanford scoring drives in the 56-10 defeat. He ran 16 times for 36 yards (the most by a Stanford quarterback in 27 years) and completed 8 of 18 passes for 121 yards. Lamson also made a mistake.

Taylor said Daniels was cleared to play against Sacramento State on Saturday, but he wouldn’t say if Daniels had reclaimed his starting spot.

“You know, they both showed a lot of promise,” Taylor told reporters on Tuesday. “So, yeah, I’m not ready to commit to either.” I think I have a lot of faith in both of them. That’s how I felt coming out of camp, and Justin did a good job coming in as well. Both will be prepared to play and will be able to do so. We shall see.”

Not to mention the Hornets.

Sacramento State is the easiest opponent Stanford (1-1) will face this season based on conference affiliation.

But the Hornets, who are ranked sixth in the FCS coaches poll, aren’t your typical FCS team, and they are intimately familiar with Stanford’s offensive playbook heading into Saturday’s home opener.

Taylor, Stanford’s head coach and offensive coordinator, previously led Sacramento State to a 31-8 record, including a 41-10 victory over FBS-level Colorado State last season.

“This is a team that expects to come here and win,” Taylor explained. “We went to Colorado State last year with the expectation of winning that game.” They have the mindset that they should win every game. This will be a tremendous challenge for us. I know these kids because I recruited the vast majority of them. It’s going to be a very difficult and challenging game for us.”

Stanford is coming off a 46-point loss at No. 5 USC, in which it allowed 49 points in the first half, the most in program history. So Saturday will be Taylor’s first chance to see how tough his new team is.

“I have a lot of confidence in our guys in terms of our resolve and character,” Taylor said. “They’re aggressive. I’m confident they’ll move on from this game. We have no choice because (Sacramento State is) a very well-coached and talented team. I believe we will win; I am confident that our preparation will be flawless, and that our players will practice diligently. We’ll give them our best shot.”

Stanford’s defense will not face a quarterback the caliber of USC’s Caleb Williams, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who accounted for four touchdowns and two incompletions before sitting out the second half.

“If he’s not the first pick in the draft, I’ll be shocked,” Taylor said.

Nonetheless, the defense will face another powerful attack. Last season, Sacramento State ranked fourth in the FCS in scoring offense (42.9 points per game) and total offense (499.8 yards per game) under Taylor. It began the season with 38-24 victories over Nicholls State and 34-6 victories over Texas A&M-Commerce.

“Obviously, last week, we didn’t get the job done,” said sophomore cornerback Collin Wright, who had 10 tackles against the Trojans. “A lot of people will say we aren’t ready and that we need to change a lot of things.” But, in general, this week is a good opportunity to see how we respond to adversity, because many people have already written us off after one game.”

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