I don't always like starting with the ball, but this is Exhibit A for taking the opening kickoff, marching down the field and setting an early tone. (Exhibit A for deferring to the second half is the USC game, in which Stanford scored just before the half, then to start the second, traded quick punts with USC and picked up right where they left off, erasing an 11-point deficit in the process.
Stanford 7, Oregon State 0, 9:45 remaining, first quarter
Christian McCaffrey with 40 yards on the drive. Love him in space, love him between the 20s – and really, I do – but don't love him near the goal line, especially in a wildcat package down there. Luckily, Remound Wright made all that moot.
Déjà vu feeling as I'm set up in a bar in the Haight District of San Francisco, see a bunch of Stanford folks, and think that everyone looks awfully familiar. Sing along now…. "Where everybody knows your name…"
Oregon State three and out, with Alameen Murphy coming up gimpy though. Great tackle from the Stanford secondary, on a play they did not scheme for well (with DBs playing way off and conceding first down yardage), but the secondary is a surprising strength yet again, and Duane Akina and Lance Anderson might be team MVPs. Exhibit A for the importance of coaching, which we've seen pan out wonderfully for the D, and with more variable results for the offense.
Stanford returns the favor, with Kevin Hogan trying to force a ball that is then batted up into the air, and into orange and black paws. The Beavers start near midfield, so three first downs later, they're in the Cardinal red zone. OSU might battle Colorado for last place in the conference, but Seth Collins is surprisingly fast. He scrambles for near-first down yardage, and then rolls left to keep a play alive and find his man in the front corner of the end zone. Really close whether he landed in-bounds or in the end zone, but instead it's called first and goal from the one.
OSU lines up goal-line, quickly motions five guys around so they're in a spread formation – reminiscent of Stanford against Virginia Tech – and then fakes a handoff and Collins sprints into the end zone. Did I mention he was fast?
Offense needs to respond, as this OSU team shouldn't be hanging with us for long.
Stanford 7, Oregon State 7, 2:30 remaining, first quarter
Card come out running, and McCaffrey now has 62 yards on eight carries. Hogan 3-of-4 for just 13 yard and a pick, but that'll change in a hurry. Hooper on a seam route on what I think that's Stanford's longest play of the season, 42 yards for a touchdown. He had a step on the whole Beaver defense, and I know football's harder on the field than it looks on T.V., but man, that looked easy.
Stanford 14, Oregon State 7, 1:20 remaining, first quarter
Total yards now 126 to 67, good guys. Yardage nearly even now though, as Collins continues to pick up great yardage with his feet, and then again scrambles to stay alive, and turns minus-10 into plus-36, hitting Storm Woods before Blake Martinez shows some serious wheels, catching Woods from behind. He was otherwise gone for six.
Stanford 14, Oregon State 7, End First Quarter
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