Making It Rain: Stanford's Big-Play Offense
Stanford beat Washington State, 55-17, on Saturday. Here's what you need to know if you missed the game.
Cardinal Offensive Depth Impresses
Stanford showed its depth in this week’s blowout. Ten offensive skill players had more than 30 yards of production. Kevin Hogan threw his 16 completions to six receivers and seven players ran the ball. Stanford’s offense is proving that they have some of the top starting skill players in Hogan, Tyler Gaffney, Ty Montgomery and Devon Cajuste while also reminding the nation that the rest of the players on the depth chart can produce. The system looks solid as ever, and with a long, difficult stretch upcoming, it is good for Shaw to know that he can rely on so many players to produce yards.
Ship Sails Without Captains
The Cardinal did not show any signs of missing their captains, guard David Yankey and safefy Ed Reynolds. Yankey, who should be back next week, was out for personal reasons. Reynolds was suspended for the first half because of a targeting penalty against Arizona State. The team showed confidence without its two best players, as the rushing game did not skip a beat and the defense managed two interceptions returned for touchdowns (Reynolds' specialty) from safety Jordan Richards and Trent Murphy. The Cardinal have depth of talent all over the field that screams national championship contender. This week, they looked better than Oregon.
Stanford D Keeps Pace With Wazzou
It’s never bad when your defense scores as many touchdowns as the opposing offense. The Cardinal defense has done a good job making it so I have nothing to write about the opposing offense. They did that more than ever in this game. They held Wazzou to just a field goal until the Cougars scored 14 points in the final nine minutes. Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca had only 5.1 and 4.8 yards per passing attempt, respectively. They each had one interception without scoring a touchdown. The Cardinal defense is getting closer and closer to shutitng out its opponent.
"Conservative" Offense Producing Big Plays
Stanford had seven offensive plays of at least 20 yards (57, 53, 48, 45, 36, 33, 22). That's not even counting the two 30-yard interception returns for touchdowns. While Stanford’s identity long has been rooted in a conservative pro-style offense, they have exploded from the line of scrimmage. The big plays in the running game have set up even bigger plays in the passing game. Kevin Hogan is lighting up the scoreboard with some of the best deep throws in college football. The Cardinal are too much fun to watch. It makes me think that some of these upcoming games may be a lot different than last year. Get ready for some shootouts.
Team Preserves Gaffney
Gaffney's production has tailed off recently. In the first three games the starting running back averaged 19.3 carries, but had 14 last night. He's not losing his starting role. Stanford is keeping him fresh as they have the luxury of so many backs. If the score was close, he would shoulder more carries and a likely break a big run to bump up his yardage. With the tough part of their schedule looming — three of Stanford's next five opponents are Top 15 teams —the Cardinal need Gaffney to have fresh legs.