4Q: Card close out Beavers

"With Stanford looking to take the air out of the ball and shortening games, sometimes underdogs can hang around for a while against David Shaw teams – we saw OSU do it for a half-plus today, and Northwestern pull the trick and then some in Game 1, so boring is a great place for this game to be."

Good coaches win, great coaches cover. Or so says the slogan on the back of an Old Pro tee shirt I got out of sympathy. (They felt bad they had to charge me the full price of a pitcher… for a pitcher of Diet Coke. Oh, the halcyon days of youth.)

Anyhow, don't especially care if we win by 11 or 18, but will be fun to track over this last quarter, and inject some excitement into a blissfully boring game. With Stanford looking to take the air out of the ball and shortening games, sometimes underdogs can hang around for a while against David Shaw teams – we saw OSU do it for a half-plus today, and Northwestern pull the trick and then some in Game 1, so boring is a great place for this game to be.

Good that we'll have an extra day of rest for next week, as Arizona figures to be considerably tougher. We'll know more after their GameDay appearance tomorrow, but should they win, they'll be knocking on the door of the Top 10.

Back in Corvallis, Milli Vanilli, or Villaman if we're going to be technical about it, beats two Stanford players down the sideline and does his best Michael Rector impression to haul in a long touchdown catch. I'd think that's the first time we've been beat over the top this year – USC's long touchdowns came on slants and runs, and Northwestern's came off a run as well. Given the score, not the time for us to be gambling defensively, but rather playing it safe, but hey, on the positive side, if you're going to get beat deep, let it be with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

Stanford 35, Oregon State 24, 13:21 remaining

McCaffrey to the 35 off the kickoff, and he was a cut, an ankle tackle and the kicker away from breaking away. Next play, and Barry Sanders Jr. is coming into his own today in a major way. He breaks an ankle tackle, displays great balance and footwork to stay in bounds, and then pure speed to pull away for a 65-yard touchdown. I'd think that's Stanford's longest run of the year (and longest play of the year next to Bryce Love's screen against Central Florida).

Stanford 42, Oregon State 24, 13:00 remaining

Twenty more yards for Sanders, and Stanford will have two 100-yard rushers for the first time in years. 447 total yards today, and the offense is doing exactly what it should against an overmatched opponent. Cardinal offense stalls here though, as a third-down bomb glances off Michael Rector's fingertips.

Defense again beat on slants, now twice in a row. That's probably 100 yards we've given up today on slant routes, not to mention another 150 easy against USC. Ronnie Harris dives to punch away a third-down out route, great look from him, and OSU punts back to the Cardinal.

I want 50 points. I want 500 total yards. I want Sanders to join McCaffrey with 100+ rushing yards. Mostly though, I want us to get out of Dodge healthy, so I would not have Hogan or McCaffrey in the game right now. Especially when Hogan was so recently injured, we have backup quarterbacks that desperately need the experience, and we're up by 18. But okay, McCaffrey picks up one first down and now it's Sanders, and if Hogan's mostly just handing off, doesn't really matter who the quarterback is. This is some vintage 2011 stuff, as we're rolling for eight yards a carry, though just one on second and two now with Sanders taking the wrong hole.

Under four minutes now, and yes, I would really get McCaffrey out of there, as he runs off for Sanders. Next part of the schedule sets up beautifully, with extra days to prep for Arizona, UCLA and then Washington, all at home, and then it's awful Washington State and Colorado on the road before Oregon. Stanford punts with under two minutes left, so TVs in Vegas will be tuned squarely on this last OSU drive, as they look to cover the 15.5-point spread.

I would also get the first-team defense off the field now too, and Stanford eventually does that, with the final minutes playing out uneventfully. OSU calls timeout and keeps gunning for the end zone with their first team – which, really? – but all for naught as a final Hail Mary falls incomplete, and a convincing win for the for Cardinal is in the books.

Stanford 42, Oregon State 24, Final


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