Kyle Bonagura ESPN Staff Writer
Before Stanford coach David Shaw was even asked about why he punted on 4th-and-1 at the Stanford 39 with less than five minutes, trailing 13-9, he gave his reasoning.
"We trust our defense. We had a fourth-and-1, and bad field position, and if we had been in good field position we would've gone for it," Shaw said. "But with bad field position we don't go for it. We never go for it. Not with that much time left and with the defense that we have."
"Coincidentally, I had that conversation with my wife this morning about that exact scenario. Midfield, to our side of the field, 4th-and-1, and I told her that you punt. You punt every single time. If you have the defense that we have and the belief in what we do, that's what you do. You punt. And you play great defense and you get the ball back, and you go out there and you execute the plays."
It was a curious decision at the time, but the man stuck to what he believed in – and it worked. With three Pac-12 titles in four years, he should always deserve the benefit of the doubt.