CFN Analysis: Stanford stops Oregon State
Posted Nov 10, 2012

The CFN Instant Analysis of Stanford's statement win over Oregon State

Richard Cirminiello

Nice game, but neither of today's combatants on the Farm is beating Oregon this month.

Stanford rallied for a crucial win over Oregon State, 27-23, in the equivalent of a Pac-12 North elimination game. Kudos to the Cardinal and head coach David Shaw, who have actually exceeded expectations in this first year without Andrew Luck at the controls of the offense. However, if you're like me, you watched this game with one prevailing thought—can either team actually derail the Ducks? I saw little today to make me believe that Chip Kelly's dominance of the division is in jeopardy.

Oregon State is a plucky group that has done a fine job this fall for head coach Mike Riley, but the Beavers lack the offensive consistency to go stride-for-stride with the Oregon offense. Stanford? I don't see it, especially since next week's game is in Eugene. Too one-dimensional as QB Kevin Hogan adapts to his promotion, and RB Stepfan Taylor carries the attack. The D? Outstanding, particularly in the front seven.

But while everyone is regurgitating this week that the Cardinal lead the country in run defense, the reality is that defensive stats go out the window when Oregon is next on the schedule. Stanford is stout, but as recent seasons have shown, against the speed and schemes of the Ducks, the Cardinal can seem rather ordinary.

Stanford essentially bumped Oregon State from Pac-12 contention with today's victory, but is the Cardinal any closer to the Promised Land, Pasadena? Don't count it. Next week will be a step up in weight class that could render today's win far less meaningful than it seems at this time.

By Phil Harrison
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The entire nation can't stop talking about Oregon, but don't sleep on Stanford. With this win, the Cardinal improves its record to 8-2 (6-1 in the league) and are just one win away against Oregon in Eugene towards being in the driver's seat for the Pac-Twelve North title.

And things could have been even better. Stanford is a wacky instant replay in South Bend away from being included in the conversation with some of the other giants in the sport this year. It's defense is stout, and the offense has the type of physicality that can equalize some of the athletes on the rosters of USC and Oregon.

And Stanford will get another shot to make a HUGE statement next week.

For Oregon State, this is still a very good year by all accounts and measures. Nobody expected much from Mike Riley's crew, yet here they sit at top end of the league in November. The defense has been better than expected, and the offense has been able to control games with balance and timely plays.

This tough loss more or less eliminates the Beavers from a shot at the division and league, but there should still be a solid bowl offer on the table at the end of the campaign. Folks should begin to take more note of the type of coach that's roaming the sidelines in Corvallis.

By Matt Zemek
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The Oregon State Beavers had been playing so well. Moreover, they had overcome a 14-0 deficit with letter-perfect execution and a generally airtight way of managing their offense and defense. Creating turnovers while avoiding major gaffes, Oregon State forged a 20-14 lead late in the third quarter. The Beavers, who – when at their best – always seem to be in the right spots on the field at the right times, were squeezing life and hope out of the Cardinal, whose dominant first quarter had become a distant memory.

Yet, as superb as Oregon State proved to be for the first 40 minutes on Saturday, it lost the plot in the final 20. After attaining that 20-14 edge, the Beavers did several things to squander it.

A drop – on a very easy six-yard pass – stopped a drive that would have entered the Stanford red zone. Oregon State was forced to kick a field goal.

An overthrow of a wide-open receiver by OSU quarterback Cody Vaz denied Oregon State an easy first down at the Stanford 15. The Beavers didn't even try a field goal on that possession, as their loss of leverage became ever more apparent.

Vaz later fumbled without contact to hand-deliver the ball to Stanford in field goal range. The Cardinal, thanks to the brilliant play of their star running back, Stepfan Taylor, didn't settle for three. The home team punched the ball into the end zone to take the lead. On Oregon State's final drive, a false start on second and one caused the Beavers' final shot at victory to disintegrate.

By all means, credit the Cardinal and their new quarterback, Kevin Hogan (in place of Josh Nunes), for wiping out a nine-point deficit. Yet, the true reason this game entered the win column for Stanford was that Oregon State lost hold of its identity… and its concentration… in the final 20 minutes.