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No. 24: So close, yet so far

Stanford was flying high in November 2009. Two weeks ago, the Cardinal beat Oregon 51-42 to ensure their first bowl berth in eight years. The previous week, Stanford had run away from USC, 55-21, in the "what's your deal" game. The subsequent week, Stanford would down Notre Dame as Toby Gerhart took over late.

We continue our ambitious offseason series, counting down the top 40 moments of the Harbaugh/ Shaw era. No matter how you slice it, Stanford football has arrived. Though we've since assumed all the trappings of a football powerhouse – the three straight runner-up finishes in Heisman voting, the two straight BCS bowl berths and top-10 finishes, the top-ten 2012 recruiting class, or the eminent... Recommended Stories

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For my money, November 2009 was the single most exciting month of the last five years for Stanford…