BF.C KEYS TO THE GAME: Stanford

A YEAR AGO, Toby Gerhart's breakout game came against Oregon State. And ever since then, the 230 pound bruiser has grown more productive, confident and punishing. And the lion's share of all the pregame matchup pub, and rightfully so, will also be the focus of Oregon State defensive coordinator Mark Banker.

Wrap It Up

In watching last year's game, it was clear the problem was not running to the football.
 
Instead, it was the yards after contact from Gerhart as OSU defenders looked to blast the big back into next week -- instead of making solid form tackles. 
 
You can't just lower a shoulder on Toby Gerhart -- that's his game.  Let him drag you for 1-2 yards, but don't let go.
 
Take Away the Play Action
 
Stanford's meat and potatoes this year has been to force opponents down into the box with a steady diet of Gerhart, mix in some short passes and then go big for the dagger. 
 
Stanford QB Andrew Luck has a fabulous arm. But as has also been seen this season, he's still a freshman. 
 
And if you take away the easy stuff, and keep him from getting over the top with Cover 2 and other looksOSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker will be right where he wants to be.
 
Expose Their Defense
 
Wake Forest punished Stanford with the fly sweep. 
 
Stanford's defense is hard nosed, smart, and tough, but they do lack top end speed. 
 
Oregon State's offense can cut them to ribbons if they find ways to turn the game into a track meet. 
 
If there ever was a game to unleash the fly sweep and get other guys involved in it -- Paging Markus Wheaton, Mr. Markus Wheaton to the huddle please -- then this is it. 
 
REVIEWING LAST WEEK'S KEYS:
 
1 - Manufacture a Pass Rush.  HALLELUJAH.  While the Beavers only produced one sack -- Sun Devil QB Danny Sullivan did a great job of getting the ball out early -- the pass rush was nothing short of ferocious.  Granted, it was against a dinged-up Sun Devil line but Banker opened up the playbook and the game featured plenty of stunts and even some corner blitzing from Brandon "The Hawaiian Hammer" Hardin.  Grade:  A-
 
2 - Get Canfield Some Breathing Room.  Against an outstanding ASU defensive front seven -- and probably the second best defense in the conference -- Oregon State did just that for Canfield.  The Beavers took a page out of Arizona's playbook and got the ball out quickly to James Rodgers in space to let him do his thing. And they featured plenty of protect packages including Jacquizz Rodgers, (who is an outstanding blocker), staying in to protect.  Canfield was sacked just once, and it was all the difference in the world.  Grade:  A
 
3 - Think Outside the Box. Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf did exactly that, featuring bubble screens early and often, and getting Quizz the ball out in space for a 32-yard touchdown run on a pitch.  The fly sweep made an appearance a couple of times but Arizona State's overall team speed, and Vontaze Burfict in particular, made it difficult to find success there. Still,  the OSU offense adjusted well and overall had a solid outing.  Grade:  B+

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