The Cardinal's defensive line is their best feature. It’s incredible that with this unit, Stanford is 4-3. Their 3-man base defense features all seniors and all are postseason award candidates. Defensive ends Henry Anderson and Blake Lueders and defensive tackle David Parry can get there without a lot of blitzing. They have regularly controlled the line of scrimmage, freeing up linebackers and safeties to swoop in.
OSU senior defensive end Dylan Wynn, who owns a team-high 38 career starts, is again playing out of position at DT due to injury. The Beavs have been solid and unspectacular up front, with Siale Hautau, Bud Delva and Brandon Bennett in rotation. But Oregon State will need to bounce back against the run after Utah went wild in the second half.
Michael Doctor, D.J. Alexander and Jabral Johnson are making their case as one of the top linebacker units in the conference, with Rommel Mageo the Beavers’ super sub. What separates them from others is their lateral quickness and how they can cover sideline-to-sideline.
Stanford has benefited significantly here from the d-line but A.J. Tarpley, Blake Martinez and Kevin Anderson and subs take the right angles and don’t allow a lot of yards after contact.
Edge: Oregon State
Strong safety Jordan Richards (44 tackles, 2.5 for loss) has been impressive and Alex Carter is one of the more underrated corners you’ll see. While they too benefit from the pressure Stanford is getting up front, the 153 passing yards allowed per game is also a result of how well they are playing.
Ryan Murphy, Tyrequek Zimmerman, Steven Nelson and Larry Scott, along with fast rising safety Justin Strong, are one of the better units anywhere. They’ll need to bring their A game though, and give the offense as many plays as possible given the overall level of Stanford’s D.
OSU vs. Stanford: Who has the edge on D?
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