The last time Stanford football had a Pac-12 victory?
- October 2nd, 2021 - Win vs. Oregon 31-24 in overtime... Over a year ago
The last season Stanford won more than 4 games? 2018... Stanford’s record during this time period? 12 wins to 26 losses... Those are some painful facts for Stanford fans.
Head Coach, David Shaw, enjoyed 8 years of incredible success when he took over for Jim Harbaugh and has earned the benefit of the doubt. But coaching is a cruel profession and the shine of past success will only carry someone so far. I previewed this year’s Stanford team here and I’ll get into the updated storylines as the Beavers look to get back in the win column after two tough losses. But it’s tough to look at this current Stanford football program and not come away underwhelmed.
It’s a terrible place to be, but Stanford is just not intimidating or exciting anymore. If your football team isn’t going to be good at least be interesting and it’s tough to call Stanford interesting this year. In defense of the Cardinal they’ve played a brutal Pac-12 schedule so far (USC, UW, UO) and they’ve dealt with some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the nation the past couple years. Not to mention their stringent academic standards make it tough to utilize the transfer portal. But they’ve got to turn it around quickly or David Shaw may not be the face of the program much longer.
The good news is that Stanford has looked above average on offense this season. Tanner Mckee is a talented quarterback and they’ve been able to move the ball and score points. Let’s dig into their offense and their key players.
- Tanner McKee (QB) - 980yds, 8 TDS, 4 INTs
- Casey Filkins (RB) - 277 rushing yards, 2 TDs... 146 receiving yards & 1 TD
- EJ Smith (RB) - 206 yards, 3 TDs (Out for Season)
- Michael Wilson (WR) - 302 yards, 15 recs, 4 TDs
- Elijah Higgins (WR) - 147 yards, 15 recs, 1 TD
Before the season pass catchers Brycen Tremayne and Benjamin Yurosek were supposed to be big weapons for Tanner McKee, but neither of them have topped 100 receiving yards for the year despite playing in all four games. 28 points against USC, 27 against Oregon and 22 against Washington is respectable. Giving up 40 or more in all three games? Less respectable. Oregon State’s secondary and linebacking core has been excellent and not having to worry a lot about a mobile quarterback will allow everyone to focus on their roles.
Defensively Stanford has left a bit to be desired. The Ducks just ran for over 350 yards (9.5 YPC) in a game they were up 31-3 at halftime. The Beavers are dealing with their own problems on offense. Chance Nolan is questionable this week with a neck strain and Oregon State QBs have thrown 8 interceptions the past two games. No matter who starts at quarterback expect the Beavers to run the ball early and often against Stanford.
Stanford is dealing with a number of injuries. On top of losing top running back E.J. Smith for the season; star corner Kyu Blu Kelly is out this week. Also offensive lineman Myles Hinton and Barrett Miller are both questionable to suit up against the Beavs.
Both teams are looking forward to the less-difficult portion of their schedules. After playing ranked opponents in consecutive weeks (3 straight for Stanford) both teams will have three straight games against unranked opponents. Stanford is looking to turn it around and fight for bowl-eligibility. Unfortunately for Stanford, I don’t see that happening. Oregon State is favored by a touchdown. Despite being a road game against a team with a talented quarterback I expect Oregon State to take care of business and get the victory. I’ll stick with my original prediction of a 10-point road win, 27-17 Beavs.