Stanford, Oregon State aim to snap skids
Stanford and Oregon State will seek to end losing streaks when Beavers standout back B.J. Baylor gets a shot at the Cardinal’s porous run defense in a Pacific-12 Conference game Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
Both teams appeared primed to take a shot at the Pac-12 North title after early success, with Stanford beating Southern Cal and Oregon en route to a 2-1 conference start, while Oregon State had a stunning victory over Utah to improve to 3-1.
But things have gone south in a hurry for both teams. Stanford (3-6, 2-5) has lost four in a row, including 52-7 at home against Utah last week, while Oregon State (5-4, 3-3) has dropped two straight.
Technically, the Beavers remain in the Pac-12 North race, but they need help. Wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Oregon would allow them to finish 6-3, creating the possibility they could tie Oregon atop the standings and win a head-to-head tie-breaker.
If Oregon State goes on a late run, it will do so with a new defensive coordinator. The school fired Tim Tibesar on Sunday, replacing him on an interim basis with inside linebackers coach Trent Bray, in the wake of poor defensive efforts in losses to California and Colorado, games in which the Beavers allowed a total of 76 points and 909 yards.
“I felt it was the right time to make a change in our football program,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said in an announcement made by the school on Sunday night.
Oregon State has had no such problems offensively of late, especially in the passing game, where Chance Nolan went a combined 35-of-64 for 498 yards and three touchdowns against Cal and Colorado.
The Beavers were at their best earlier when Baylor was running well. He had four straight 100-yard games during Oregon State’s 3-1 conference start, before totaling just 140 yards on 35 carries the past two weeks.
Stanford got run over by Utah’s Tavion Thomas for 177 yards and four TDs in last week’s blowout. The Cardinal gave up 441 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns against the Utes.
“Got to have a lot of discussions on how to stop the run,” Stanford coach David Shaw insisted after the loss. “We missed a ton of tackles. It’s one thing to have gaps run through. But when you miss tackles, that’s why you give up the big, big plays. Inexcusable.”
Stanford played the Utah game without quarterback Tanner McKee, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. He remains questionable for the Oregon State game.
The Cardinal’s Jack West, Isaiah Sanders and Ari Patu combined for just 85 passing yards on 23 attempts against Utah.
–Field Level Media