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Oregon State Football: Stanford Q&A with Rule of Tree

One of SBN’s Stanford experts lets us in on what’s going on with the Cardinal.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2-7 Oregon State Beavers are getting better, but could’t get it done against USC last week. Now they take a road trip down to Stanford to face David Shaw’s 5-4 Cardinal. Stanford hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season, dropping four of their last five contests. At moments though, they have shown that their usual stable of offensive playmakers can be a problem.

For more on our favorite team with a plant mascot, we did a little Q&A with Charlie Foy of SBN’s Stanford community RuleOfTree.com.


1. Stanford started the year strong, but have lost four of their last five. What do they need to do to get back on track?

NCAA Football: Stanford at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford has not been Stanford. This year, they struggle to run the ball efficiently, and their defense has been underwhelming. David Shaw has always stuck to his same game plan of beating you physically, and this year that plan has not worked. However in the last two games, Shaw has adapted to kind of a air raid offense. No longer is his quarterback, KJ Costello, throwing between 20 to 30 times a game; instead, Costello has thrown over 40 times in two consecutive games. The Cardinal did not win either game, but I believe this style of play will lead to a successful finish of the year. For Stanford to get back on track, Costello needs to perform well, and the Cardinal need to win through the air.

2. Bryce Love was an early Heisman candidate, but he’s had some issues with injuries and other frustrations this year. What do you expect from him on Saturday?

Love did not get the opportunity to embarrass the Beavers last year, potentially costing him a Heisman Trophy, and on Saturday, I believe you’ll see what you missed from Love last year. Hampered by injuries this season, Love is currently the healthiest he has been, and I think OSU will need to respect Costello and won’t be able to stack the box, giving Love opportunities to get into the open field. I think Love and the Stanford offense will have their best performance of the year on Saturday.

3. Who has been the MVP of this Stanford team this year?

NCAA Football: Washington State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

I torn between JJ Arcega-Whiteside and KJ Costello. Arcega-Whiteside has been an animal in the red zone this season, but unfortunately, you won’t see the receiver as he’s out with an injury. Costello, on the other hand, is having somewhat of a breakthrough year. He’s second in the PAC-12 in passing, and without him, we’d be below .500. I’m picking our quarterback. He’s the emotional leader of the team, and he’s confident mojo successfully lead a comeback versus Oregon and almost completed two more versus the Washington schools. I don’t know what David Shaw would do without his quarterback.

4. What does Oregon State need to do to beat Stanford this week?

Keep up on offense, and hope to get lucky at the end of the game. Stanford’s defense will allow you to put up points, so as long as the Beavers avoid turnovers, this game will be close.

5. Final score prediction for this game?

I’m expecting to see a (Stanford) shootout. The Cardinal will keep this game somewhat close to start before separating themselves at the end. 38-28 Stanford.

For more on Stanford sports, check out RuleOfTree.com.