Limit Self-Inflicting Wounds
Last Saturday, the Beavers played well against a very good Washington State team, especially in the 1st half. However, penalties and mistakes plagued the Beavers, largely in the 2nd half. Historically, Stanford has been a disciplined team that will take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes. The Beavers have shot themselves in the foot all season in close games with mistakes including penalties, turnovers, and missed assignments. Mistakes are common with young teams, but the Beavers cannot afford to use that as an excuse when they play Stanford. The bottom line is, the Beavers can’t afford to make mistakes against a solid Stanford team, especially on the road.
RB Christian McCaffrey is arguably Stanford’s best player. McCaffrey entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Currently, he is on pace for another 1000 yard season. McCaffrey has the combination of speed and strength (781 rushing yards on 143 carries, 5.5 avg, 5 TD’s). The Beaver Defense will be tested this week in the Bay Area. Opposing Defenses have keyed in on stopping McCaffrey. McCaffrey missed the Notre Dame game several weeks ago due to injury. Last week, McCaffrey rushed for 169 yards and 2 TD’s, including 1 TD reception.
The Passing Game has had limited success so far this season for Stanford. Head Coach David Shaw benched QB Ryan Burns (5 TDs, 7 Ints.) for QB Keller Chryst to try and spark the passing game. However, the Beavers need to make sure Stanford does not get the passing game going this Saturday. The Beaver’s main focus this week should be slowing down McCaffrey and the running game. In Stanford’s three losses this season, McCaffrey was limited to less than 100 rushing yards. Can the Beaver Defense limit McCaffrey?
Beaver Offense Needs to Be Consistent
The Beavers need to play a solid four quarters of football against a tremendous Stanford Defense. The Offense played an amazing 1st half against the Cougs, but it wasn’t enough to win. QB Marcus McMaryion is getting better each game. WR Victor Bolden is becoming the big time playmaker Beaver Nation has hoped for ever since he stepped foot in Corvallis. The running game continues to be a strength for the Beavers. Is the Offense ready to face the challenge of the PAC 12’s 3rd. ranked scoring Defense?
Become Road Warriors
Overall, the Beavers have played their best football this season in Reser Stadium. The win vs Cal, and close losses to nationally ranked Washington State and Utah took place in Corvallis. It could be argued that the Beavs, recovering from a brutal first half vs Boise State, had chances to defeat the nationally ranked Broncos at home as they erased a 24 point halftime deficit to only trail by 14 in the 3rd qtr, but the Offense could not get the score any closer. The game at home against Idaho State was a victory, to say the least.
Despite the close loss on the road to the now bowl-eligible Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Beavers played arguably their two worst games on the road at 4th ranked Washington and at 15th ranked Colorado. Granted, most if not all College Football teams play worse on the road then at home (that’s why they call it home-field advantage, right?). The Beavers need to learn how to have success in hostile environments. The Beavers last conference road win, or any type of road win was October 4, 2014, when they defeated Colorado. Under Coach Andersen, the Beavers have yet to win on the road. Although, Stanford has slipped a little, they are still a very solid team with a gigantic amount of wins in the past 7 years. It takes toughness and focus to win on the road in the PAC 12. Can the Beavers answer the challenge?