RB Christian McCaffrey (USA Today)

Match-up Analysis: Stanford

The Beavers travel away from Reser to Palo Alto where they will face the Stanford Cardinal.  The Cardinal are fresh off a much needed win over Arizona and are hoping they can build a streak out of win.

The Beavers hope to take another step forward and put a painful loss in the rear view window as they begin their four game quest for bowl eligibility. So just how well do the Cardinal stack up position by position with the Mid-Valley’s finest:

Quarterback:

Keller Chryst vs. Marcus McMariyon

Keller Chryst is working on his second straight start and is currently passing at a 43.8% completion percentage for 167 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INT.  

Marcus McMaryion will be making his third start of the season and is currently completing 54.1% of his passes for 551 yards, 3 TD and 2 INT’s.

NOTES:

Marcus has just proven to be the most consistent passer on the Beavers against arguably the very best defenses we have played all year.  He has improved every game, and looks to be ready to take another big step for the Beavers. Keller Chryst struggled in his first game against a poor Arizona defense but did enough to win.  

Advantage: OSU

Running Back:

Christian McCaffrey vs. Ryan Nall.

McCaffrey has been dinged up all year, but is still rushing for 781 yards for an average of 5.4 yards and 5 TD’s

Ryan Nall has rushed for 595 yards for an average of 7.8 yards per carry and scoring 8 TD’s.

NOTES:

While both runners have had injury and QB issues, Nall has been the most consistent and while I know McCaffrey was a Heisman finalist last year, right now, I am not sure that Nall is not playing like one of the better running backs in the conference.  

Advantage: OSU

Wide Receiver:

Trenton Irwin vs. Victor Bolden, Jr.

Irwin is the leading receiver for the Cardinal, with 34 catches for 356 yards and 0 TD’s.   

Victor Bolden, Jr.  is the leading receiver for the Beavers with 34 catches for 368 yards and 1 TD.  

NOTES:

Stanford has the worst passing attack in the conference by far. While they have a lot of talent at receiver, they have been so inconsistent that in this case, I have to give the Pac-12’s 11th ranked passing offense a nod over the the 12th, especially as of late.

Advantage: OSU

Offensive Line:

Stanford has had injuries and issues at offensive line all year. While they are a team that has just reloaded over the last few years, sometimes it takes a bit more time. This is that year for Stanford. They are the line for the worst offense in the conference and are giving up the most sacks.

The Beavers have improved their line play, and stabilized their lineup the past few weeks. That being said, they have yet to put together a complete game up front and if they are trailing, they will be susceptible to the athleticism of Stanford’s defense.

NOTES:

Stanford is probably the 8th best line in the conference, maybe 7th.  Oregon State has shown glimpses of being a top six line this year. Just not for a full game.

Advantage: OSU

Defensive Line:

What is the most like the Stanford of old is the defense.  The defensive line is dominant and their front seven not only leads the conference in sacks, but also have the 5th best rush defense.

OSU’s defensive line is working hard and they have a lot of players that are making strides, but they are still not a dominant force.

NOTES:

Stanford’s defensive line is a very athletic and very aggressive line that can be fooled, but will also win most of their one on one battles.

Advantage: Stanford

Linebackers:

Stanford has a very athletic linebacking crew that plays disciplined and fast. They are also finally healthy.  Palma and Alfieri are legit all conference level talents.

Bright Ugwoegbu’s suspension and the rash of injuries to several other outside linebackers has really forced OSU to use a lot of young and untested talent.  

NOTES:

Oregon State is just too young and has too many injuries to compare with Stanford right now.

Advantage: Stanford

Secondary:

Stanford’s secondary was hit with massive injuries early in the year but have had the majority of them come back over the last two weeks.  When healthy, they are an elite group, but are still finding their footing from all the injuries.

Oregon State’s secondary has played the two best passing teams in the conference the last two weeks and their stats show it.  That being said, they are a physical and solid group that has really played well since the Colorado game.

NOTES:

I don’t really know what to do with this.  Week 1, Stanford was the winner.  Now, the way OSU is playing and the injuries that Stanford has dealt with I have to give it a push.

Advantage: Push

Special Teams:

Stanford’s special teams are a mirror image of the Stanford program.  They are disciplined, great at coverage but not too much of a threat on returns. All defense, no offense.

OSU is kind of the opposite but with a shakier field goal kicker as of late.

NOTES:

Because of the inconsistencies at place kicker, I have to give the nod to Stanford

Advantage: Stanford

OVERVIEW:

I feel like this is a win. I wouldn’t pick it for money, but my gut says OSU has a chance to win. The biggest thing for me is that the Beavers seem to be getting better on offense and have a solid defense.

Stanford is too one dimensional.  But the dimension they excel at, they really excel at. So what will happen.  If Marcus was not the quarterback, I would pick Stanford without a second thought. But Marcus has played well against good defenses.  

With Stanford’s defense, it will be interesting to see how the Beaver offensive line handles their front seven.  If they can, and if the Beavers can run, they will win. Stanford will not win a shoot out. Or even a contentious game of hot hands.


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