The Stanford Cardinal come to town this weekend… Well, sort of. In the annual ‘Seattle Game’ the Cougars will take on fifth ranked Stanford. What we know about Stanford as a whole is very obvious: they are good. They run a pro style offense and have a good defense that was able to hold a good Arizona State team to 28 points while putting up 42 on them. Arizona State went into that game ranked 23.
Stanford has an offense this year that is just like their offenses in the past. Big tight ends and big lineman. Stanford uses their size and pounds the ball and every once in a while will go to the air when the defense is not expecting it. The Cardinal have a package set up where they have 8 or 9 offensive lineman or tight ends on the field, leaving two or three spots, QB, RB and fullback. Last year the Cougars loaded the box against the Cardinal bringing Casey Locker up to add an additional man up front.
Stanford has had an interesting year at quarterback so far. At the beginning of last year the Cardinal had three quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot, that all changed this year. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes, and Kevin Hogan were all in contention last year for the spot. Nottingham transferred out of the program to attend Columbia University and Nunes was forced to retire after a pectoral injury. Last season Nunes won the starting spot after competing with Nottingham, Hogan then came in and beat out Nunes for the spot in the middle of the season.
Hogan is an all-around quarterback and has 63% a completion percentage. So far this season Hogan has 546 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Keeping his interceptions low is a big key to Stanford’s success so far. A team that doesn’t turn the ball over will come away with a win.
Hogan has plenty of talent on the outside to catch the ball. Wide receivers Ty Montgomery and Devon Cajuste are the Cardinal leading receivers. Montgomery leads the team with 14 receptions for 273 yards and 4 touchdowns while Cajuste has 6 receptions for 129 yards and 1 touchdown. Both receivers average about 20 yards per reception each.
On the ground game the Cardinal is just as good, and with an offensive line that Stanford has it makes it real easy to be good. Running backs Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson will line up in the backfield this weekend. Gaffney has 58 touches for 323 yards and 5 touchdowns, Wilkerson has 31 carries for 144 yards and 1 touchdown.
The defense of the Cardinal in the past against the Cougars have been stellar. With 10 sacks against Washington State alone the defensive line has the skill to make it a bad day to be an offensive player. The Cardinal have allowed 20.3 points a game so far this season. In Stanford’s opening game against San Jose State the Cardinal D was tough to get through, SJSU managed just 35 rushing yards on 23 attempts. In their second game against an Army team that averages 300 yards on the ground per game they held them to 197 yards on the ground.
Star linebacker Shane Skov leads the team with 24 total tackles in only three games this season, in a close second and third Ed Reynolds, who will miss the first half of this game due to a suspension for targeting, and Wayne Lyons both have over 20 tackles themselves. Through three games this season the Cardinal have recorded 7 sacks between 5 players. The defense has the ability to get in the backfield and cause havoc among the offense.
Stanford has the defense that can shut down an offense at will. The Cardinal will take advantage of every Cougar mishap and turnover this weekend.