3Q: Card blow game open, 35-17

I'm not normally big into "momentum" and intangibles... However, I do believe today that the Rector touchdown was the knockout punch, as OSU has looked flat on both sides of the ball ever since. They're no longer punching above their weight and hanging with the No. 21 team in the country, but rather they're looking every bit the 4-8 team they might end up.

Third quarter starts with a huge break, as OSU bounces a snap off the turf, completely unforced, and we recover at the eight. Touchdown here and we're back firmly in control. Instead, McCaffrey bounces outside when he should have cut inside, Rector is interfered with on third down but draws no flag, and Ukropina picks a bad time to miss his first kick of the year. Opportunity to bury these guys wasted.

Stanford 21, Oregon State 17

Oregon State lost 35-7 at Michigan in its only other contest against a Power 5 foe. They're better at Reser, but we were 15.5-point favorites for a reason. Instead, slant route again moves the chains on third and seven, and the Cardinal D hasn't yet shut down this spread attack. They do here though -- right on cue, no less – as a third-and-two dive for the sticks gains only one. Card will start from their 18, and the D now has consecutive stops for the first time today, I believe.

OSU has run more plays (43-36), making Stanford's four-minute time of possession edge ring somewhat hollow. OSU also has 235 yards to Stanford's 207, with the Cardinal leading because they have scored touchdowns on three of four red zone trips.

Stanford goes no huddle at a nice time, with Sanders ripping off seven yards, a Hogan keeper gaining two, and a Hogan checkdown to Francis Owusu off a throw across his body while rolling left – tough throw for a two-yard gain – moving the chains.

And then an awful throw with a great result. Michael Rector's been awfully quiet this year, but two OSU defenders underplay a 25-yard out, and if you're going to misjudge a deep ball, better to overplay it. Maybe I'm being too harsh, because it's third down, and might as well throw it deep, even if your guy's double-covered, and, you know what, a 52-yard touchdown's a pretty good result at a time Stanford needed to break the game open.

Stanford 28, Oregon State 17

Cardinal D with a three and out, and yeah, anyone better at in-game adjustments than these guys? Didn't think so.

McCaffrey blown up before the punt arrives, and guess that's as good as a 15-yard return. Cardinal can remove any remaining doubt with a score here. McCaffrey with one of his nicest sequences of the season, juking a guy in the backfield before finishing with power to turn minus-one into 11. He then drags another defender or two across the imaginary yellow line to move the chains, and then makes another few nice cuts in space. This is what power football is supposed to do to a defense, and no one touches Barry J Sanders until he's crossing the goal line.

Stanford 35, Oregon State 17, 2:49 remaining, third quarter

I'm not normally big into "momentum" and intangibles – not that they don't exist or impact football games, but I think it's hard to determine causality from afar, and so I'm loathe to do so. However, I do believe today that the Rector touchdown was the knockout punch, as OSU has looked flat on both sides of the ball ever since. They're no longer punching above their weight and hanging with the No. 21 team in the country, but rather they're looking every bit the 4-8 team they might end up.

Still, with the game salted away as far as competitiveness goes, now we can focus on the lighter side of things… Christian McCaffrey has 17 points for your fantasy team, but you have to be annoyed at Remound Wright and now Barry J Sanders stealing away three touchdowns that could have CMac at 35 instead. Back on the field, defensive three-and-out again.

McCaffrey for 11, and we're just dominating at the line now, with no one touching the Stanford star until eight yards downfield. Next snap, after delay for an OSU injury, and no one touches McCaffrey until 25 yards downfield… Wonder when it's Keller Chryst time?

Not so fast, as McCaffrey fumbled late after his run deep into OSU territory, and while the outcome may not hang in the balance, the 15.5-point spread very much does as we now head into the fourth.

Stanford 35, Oregon State 17, End 3rd quarter


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