There’s no doubt that the game of the week in the Pac was the top-15 matchup between Oregon State and Stanford. The winner was going to be 6-1 in the Pac, with a chance to beat Oregon, and own the three-way tiebreaker for the North Division Crown. The loser, in all likelihood, would get a 3rd place finish in a six-team division.
Win, and your path to the Rose Bowl is in your hands. Lose, and you are fighting to get into the Sun Bowl.
Both teams both teams were starting an inexperienced QB that unseated a more tested starter, both teams boasted top notch defenses. Both came into the game with only one conference loss, and for both teams, that loss was on the road to Washington. Only Stanford’s last second loss at Notre Dame separated the team’s records.
Stanford turned the ball over four times to Oregon State and lost the turnover battle 4 to 1, but the Cardinal defense didn’t allow momentum to shift. On the 4 turnovers combined, they allowed no first downs, only one field goal of scoring, and once, forced another turnover themselves only two plays later.
That one Oregon State turnover was by far the most crucial one in the game. The Cody Vaz fumble midway through the 4th quarter handed the ball to Stanford at the Beaver 29. Three and a half minutes later, the Cardinal was in the end zone scoring the go-ahead touchdown. It would be the only score of the final quarter.
Stanford got a solid passing performance from Keith Hogan starting his first ever game. The Redshirt freshman did throw two interceptions, but he completed 76% of his passes for 9 yards per attempt and 2 touchdowns, including a 4th quarter game-winner against the #13 team in the country. Not bad for a trial run.
Stanford is now Bowl eligible for a 4th straight year. Stanford football goes back to Walter Camp, but this is the first time a class has come through Palo Alto and gone to a bowl all four years. Perhaps more importantly, the Cardinal win means that for the third year in a row, the Stanford v. Oregon game (coming Saturday) is the game of the year in the Pac-12. The winner will almost certainly host the Pac-12 Championship game and be the favorite to go to the Rose Bowl.
Oregon State suddenly has a little soul-searching to do. After rising as high as #7 in the polls, the Beavers have lost two of three and lost a bit of their identity. Their passing offense was flying high with Sean Mannion until an injury forced Cody Vaz to take over against BYU.
Vaz was lights out against the top 5 D. of the Cougars putting up 42 in Lavell Edwards Stadium. But at home against Utah the following Week Vaz was slowed considerably, throwing for only 176 yards, roughly half the Beavers’ season average.
The following week Mannion returned against Washington, but turned the ball over repeatedly until the Beavers turned to Vaz in the 4th quarter. Vaz played markedly better, but it was too little, too late and the Beaves fell in Seattle.
Vaz performed reasonably well against Stanford on Saturday, but for the second week in a row, the Beavers were felled by a critical turnover from their quarterback. OSU has a winnable game v. Cal this weekend, but they need to settle on a permanent starter soon because the Civil War is only two weeks away.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Congratulations to Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona for his record-breaking week against Colorado. Unfortunately, as always, in PTR, stats registered against Colorado do not count. This section is called, “Player of the Week”. If we counted games against CU, we could just re-name it, “What Skill Guy Played Colorado on Saturday?”
The real player of the week is Stanford’s phenomenal Stepfan Taylor who didn’t just face a real defense, but the best rush defense in the Pac-12 (other than his team’s). Playing with a first-time starting QB, Taylor carried more of the offensive load than usual for the Cardinal, and came up big against his toughest conference opponent to date.
The Oregon State defense faced the NCAA’s career leading rusher, Montee Ball earlier in the season and held him to 61 yards on 15 carries. On Saturday, Taylor carried 19 times for 144 yards (6.0 YPC). He also made the play of the week in the Pac as a receiver when he bailed out his freshman quarterback and ran a desperation screen pass 42 yards through the Beaver secondary for a critical touchdown.
COLORADO’S DEFENSE IS NOT SO MUCH BAD AS IT IS HISTORICALLY BAD:
It seems crazy that anyone but Ka’Deem Carey could win player of the week after rushing for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and 5 touchdowns. But against Colorado, what does that rushing total even mean?
In the entire history of the Pac-8/10/12, The worst scoring defense on record was the 2008 Washington State Cougars. That team allowed 570 points, or 47.5 points per game. Through 10 games, this year’s Colorado team is right with them, averaging 47.2 points allowed, and is on pace to end up within one garbage time TD of the record.
That WSU team allowed 5421 yards, averaging an incredible 451 yards allowed per game. Well this year’s Buffs are on pace to obliterate that mark, allowing 505 ypg and on pace to allow more than 6000 yards this season.
Against these Buffs, it’s a new record almost every week. When the Buffs played USC, Matt Barkley threw for 300 yards completing 95% of his passes. 95 PERCENT. Robert Woods also set a record against the Buffs catching 4 TDs in the game. The most by any USC receiver ever. You could say that these are the numbers these guys would put up in practice, except they don’t put up numbers like this in practce. Honestly, it is doubtful that even USCs service team is as bad as Colorado’s starting defense.
This week it was Ka’Deem Carey, next week it will be someone else. The only limit to a good team’s production against Colorado so far this season has been how bad teams wanted the final score to be. As it stands now, Colorado is 98 points from 2008 WSU’s points allowed record and a bit over 1,000 yards from the 2009 Cougars’ total yards allowed record.
Allowing over 47 points and over 500 yards per game, they are on pace to challenge for both of them. Best of luck to CU in their quest to take both records!