Stanford smothers Oregon State; more extra late Week 9 Snap Judgments
• No. 8 Stanford 20, Oregon State 12: Those expecting a late-night Pac-12 shootout were likely disappointed, but the Cardinal have to be happy with their defensive performance on the road against an explosive Beavers team that was knocking on the door at the end of the fourth quarter.
Stanford held Oregon State to 288 total yards and kept quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks largely in check early, with the pair only connecting once for two yards in the first half. The Cardinal defense collected eight sacks on the night.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley seemed to know the game would be shortened if Stanford had the ball for prolonged periods of time, so he frequently went for it on fourth down (although he puzzlingly decided to punt with under five minutes to play; naturally Stanford fumbled and gave the ball back to Oregon State). The Cardinal defense stepped up and only allowed the Beavers to convert one of the five fourth-down chances they took.
Stanford trailed 3-0 late into the first half, but it finally got a quick strike with less than a minute to play before halftime, thanks to a rushing score by Tyler Gaffney. The Cardinal running back (150 yards, 3 touchdowns) picked up hard yards all night, putting up another score early in the second half to give Stanford a two-score lead at the time. A week after racking up 36 carries and 171 yards against UCLA, Stanford fed it to Gaffney 22 times, wearing down the Beavers up front.
Oregon State had too many weapons to stay dormant for good, and Mannion (42-of-58, 274 yards, 1 TD) and Cooks (10 catches, 82 yards, 1 TD) finally started to get in rhythm, utilizing short passes all over the field to get the lead down to 13-9 near the end of the third quarter.
While Stanford’s loss to Utah will hang over it like a ghost the rest of the season (let’s call him Utey; he’s a friendly ghost like Casper and he isn’t spooky at all), the team has plenty of opportunities to stay in the national title picture against good competition if the Cardinal can continue to win.
The Nov. 7 game against Oregon has been circled since preseason, and Derek Mason’s defense will be tested greatly. Nobody’s been able to stop Oregon yet, but Stanford found a formula to upend the Ducks last year in a 17-14 overtime victory. And we all know smart kids are good at math. [RECAP l BOX]
• Texas 30, TCU 7: A lengthy lightning delay (and a super short halftime) played havoc with the flow of this game, but the Longhorns put together their second straight good win. TCU has not been able to solve the offensive problems that have plagued the Horned Frogs all year, and the defense allowed a gain of 5.8 yards per play. Because football is weird, Texas and Baylor are the only teams without a Big 12 loss, and the Longhorns are now at 5-2 entering a very winnable two-game stretch against Kansas and at West Virginia. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 15 Fresno State 35, San Diego State 28 (OT): Those who stayed up for this one were rewarded like people who sit through the end of a video game for Easter eggs after the credits. Fresno State finally seemed to shake the Aztecs, going ahead by two scores early in the fourth quarter, but SDSU refused to go away in a rainy and odd game. It successfully completed an onside kick down seven, threw in a hook and ladder for good measure, then scored on a third-and-one play with a fullback plunge for 27 yards to tie the game. The Aztecs had a chance to win in regulation, but kicker Seamus McMorrow missed a field goal, sending the game to overtime. Fresno State scored (on a Marteze Waller one-yard run), San Diego State didn’t , and the game ended at 2:38 a.m. on the East Coast. The Bulldogs’ BCS hopes are still alive. [RECAP l BOX]