08.Oct.2009 The Cardinal @ The Beavers
I’ve seen The Tree a lot. Everyone knows about their RB, but they’re pretty formidable on the offensive line as well. An area they excel every game is special teams, specifically kick returns. So, how do the Beavs match up?
1. QB–Luck is as good as Canfield and 3 years his junior. Scary. But experience gives us a slight edge here. Advantage, Beavs.
2. RB–Gerhart is great, our DL and LBs are average. Quiz is very good, but our o-line is below average. Advantage, Tree.
3. WR–Unlike in the past, Stanford has skill here. But, in terms of route-running, blocking, etc. Advantage, Beavs.
4. OL–This one’s as clear as a limpid pond: Advantage, Tree.
5. DL–Tree has the advantage here, too, from what I’ve seen. They were getting after Skinner in the Wake game. They have 11 sacks, which is 23rd in the nation. We have 3, which is 8th worst. Advantage, Tree.
6. LBs–Roberson and Kristick are better than anything Stanford has. Advantage, Beavs.
7. CBs–Mitchell is better than anyone in Stanford’s secondary. With Hardin coming on strong I actually like our unit slightly better. Advantage, Beavs.
8. Special Teams–Stanford excels here, average 41.1 yards per kick return. The WR who returns kicks for them is a very good all around playmaker, both receiving and returning (3td). Much like James Rodgers. Stanford’s kicker is 5-7 and Kahut is 7-9. That’s a wash. Both punters are shaky, that’s a wash as well. I think our kick coverage is better than Stanford’s, but overall we’re just shaky on special teams (missed extra points, not fielding punts, shanking punts at inopportune times, etc). Advantage, Tree.
9. Home field–This should be a no-brainer, but with the lame crowds of late who knows. Still: Advantage, Beavs.
The key to this game is the Beaver offensive line. Stanford’s weakness is at LB…if the road graders can pave the way, Quiz will scamper past the LBs and into the secondary early and often, controlling the clock, sustaining drives, and keeping the ball from Gerhart. Will that happen? No. While the OL took a step forward last week, it’s more likely that we’ll continue to have key false starts and other frustrating penalties. Further, I don’t see us touching Luck–his offensive line is just too good. I’d like to believe the defensive pressure in Tempe wasn’t just a byproduct of ASU’s line, but I just can’t convince myself that is true. Stanford converts 3rd downs at a 48% rate against teams with a pass rush…if this week’s fans are anything like those at the Cincy game, a couple conversations and their backs will be broken and their butts in their seats.