No Love, Big Problem: Stanford 15, Oregon State 14
It was ugly, it was rough, and it required a miracle fumble, but with Bryce Love not playing, Stanford got out of Corvallis alive.
It actually didn’t really matter.
There might be some scenario where Stanford wins out, Notre Dame comes to Palo Alto with one loss and ranked in the top five, and the Pac-12 Champion Cardinal becomes the first two-loss team to get into the College Football Playoff, but it’s unlikely.
The Pac-12 championship is the realistic goal, and it didn’t matter all that much whether or not Stanford beat Oregon State or lost.
Now it has to play at Washington State, and then it has to deal with Washington six days later. The Cardinal have to win those two games no matter what – but it was still a plus to get out of Corvallis alive.
It’s too simplistic to assume that Stanford’s offense stunk because Bryce Love didn’t play. It didn’t help that the Heisman candidate was out with an ankle injury, but the offense had so many more problems than not having its home run hitter.
Love not being in the game didn’t make Keller Chryst play awful.
Chryst only completed 16-of-33 passes for 141 yards, and he went a long stretch without hitting a meaningful pass, but he connected on the fourth down play he needed to make to keep the final drive alive. And then, when he wasn’t making anything happen all game long, he threw the game-winning touchdown pass.
Cameron Scarlett ran well, but he wasn’t love. He ran 17 times for 72 yards, but he didn’t have any room to move. The Cardinal didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards. That’s not okay.
Thursday and Friday night games are weird. Just win them, and get out. Don’t ask questions.
Oregon State did almost everything right. It outplayed Stanford, even with just 264 yards of total offense, but it turned it over three times including a late fumble. Stanford got its break, drove down for the score, and it did what good teams do. It finds ways to win.
But it will be a whole lot easier with Love. The Cardinal got its break. It got the win, and Love will have over two weeks off without having to play. Stanford needs him for Wazzu and U-Dub – survive and advance.