Playing without former Heisman Trophy frontrunner Bryce Love, whom the Cardinal couldn’t get ready for a made for national television opportunity to showcase after he suffered a twisted ankle 12 days ago in their win over Oregon, 20th ranked Stanford was effectively ineffective until the end of the game Thursday night at Reser Stadium.
While that had a lot to do with Love’s absence, combined with Stanford’s offensive line’s inability to generate any push, Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst mostly showcasing his limitations (Chryst completed only 16 of 33 passes, for only 141 yards), and questionable play calling, it also had a lot to do with an energetic effort by the Oregon State defense.
Stanford played their worst game in several years, and Oregon State played their best game of the season defensively. Bright Ugwoegbu had the best game of his career, and Jonathan Willis was all over the field, and even recorded a sack of Cryst, the only one the Cardinal has allowed in their last 5 games, among his co-game high 10 tackles.
Landry Payne had a game high 7 solo tackles on his way to matching Willis’ 10 total, and Omar Hicks-Onu snared an interception, just the 4th one the Cardinal have collectively chucked up this season.
Stanford was held to just 81 yards rushing, and no one could readily recall the last sub-100 yard ground game by the Cardinal, because it virtually never happens. Their 222 total yards was about half their season average.
And though they lacked any downfield ability to stretch the field, the Beaver offense mounted a ground game that produced 2 touchdowns, and a time of possession advantage of over 5 ½ minutes, another almost unheard of stat when dealing with Stanford.