Oregon and Stanford have combined to produce some of the most memorable and nationally relevant Pac-12 games over the past few years. On a weekend filled with upsets and improbable results, could the two get together for one more?
No. 23 Stanford did just about whatever they wanted on offense and powered to a 49-7 victory over their Pac-12 North rivals to win a fourth straight and look a lot like the team many thought could win the division in the preseason.
Running back Bryce Love was once again the star of the show, breaking off a 67-yarder that adds to his highlight reel and finishing a rather ho-hum night with 147 yards and two scores. More pressing for the Heisman candidate is how he’s feeling, as he didn’t play much in the second half after limping off with what looked to be an ankle injury. Though it could just be precautionary, the issue is something to monitor for one of the most explosive runners in the country.
Surprisingly though, the running game wasn’t the only threat for the Cardinal offense. Quarterback Keller Chryst was an efficient 15-of-21 for 181 yards, three touchdowns and one interception before giving way to backup K.J. Costello. Most of those yards and scores were thrown toward massive wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who was an uncoverable threat in the red zone and finished with 112 yards and two touchdown catches.
The nearly 500 yard effort also overshadowed another quality defensive job by Stanford as well. Oregon running back Royce Freeman did manage to rush for 143 yards but the Ducks scored only once and were little to no threat with their backup quarterbacks in action once again. Braxton Burmeister started behind center but completed just four passes for 25 yards and threw two interceptions. Taylor Alie replaced him in the second half but didn’t fare much better.
It marked a rough return to the Farm for new Oregon coach Willie Taggart, who was a former assistant with David Shaw under Jim Harbaugh at the school several years ago. Shaw probably won’t apologize however, as the impressive outing by the Cardinal may — combined with other upsets — make them the team to beat in the Pac-12 given how well they’re playing at the moment.