San Diego State and Stanford meet for a rematch of their 2017 clash. Both of them certainly remember what happened, as the Cardinal went to San Diego and came out with a loss on their record. It was a signature win for the Aztecs in 2017 and a letdown loss for Stanford after battling with USC the week before. Stanford just didn’t come prepared after putting all of their energy into USC. They didn’t look like they wanted to be there, and in those cases, the more physical team always wins out.
It isn’t often that you hear about Stanford getting pushed around, but San Diego State were certainly the aggressors. They punched a Stanford team that were still licking their wounds from a week prior in the mouth. The Cardinal won their next five games, before they went to Pullman and met Washington State. They finished strong with three wins in a row over Washington, Cal, and Notre Dame to grant them a spot in the Pac-12 Championship.
It was a game that could have went either way. If Stanford gets a call here and there, they may win instead of the Trojans. Ultimately, though, USC won and Stanford had to settle for the Alamo Bowl against TCU. Stanford enters 13th in the nation, as they bring back prolific runner, Bryce Love, and their signal-caller, K.J. Costello.
We expect Love to run all over defenses again this season. He will be a high pick in the draft. Look for Costello to have a big year as well. He’s flying under the radar and reports suggest that it’s been a good camp for him. Costello passed for 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, as he was more of a game manager than anything.
However, I believe we’ll see the playbook, starting tonight against the Aztecs. If it does come to fruition, good luck to defenses having to worry about Love, and then Costello hitting targets downfield. San Diego State lost their workhorse, Rashaad Penny, to the NFL this past April, but they will likely reload just like after Donnel Pumphrey went to the NFL. Get our free San Diego State vs. Stanford pick for Friday night in Palo Alto.
San Diego State Aztecs vs. Stanford Cardinal Betting Odds:
San Diego State +13.5(-110)
vs. Stanford -13.5(-110)
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San Diego State vs. Stanford Pick:
Without K.J. Costello emerging at quarterback for the Cardinal late last season, they’re probably not playing in the Pac-12 Championship. Love can carry the load on his back, but without a quarterback Stanford aren’t going to elevate their game to the next level. What becomes a one-dimensional attack, would be a dangerous attack. Love ran for a whopping 2118 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground a season ago.
He averaged 8.1 yards per carry, which put him in Heisman contention. That award ultimately went to Bake Mayfield, but Love was deserving as well. Along with Love and Costello, basically everyone else on offense returns as well. They will be glad to see that four of five offensive linemen are back at Stanford. Stanford already had one of the best offensive lines in football last season and now they all have another year of experience. The receiving core is largely held together as well, with four of their top receivers all coming back to college.
Penny is gone so the next guy in line will take over as the workhorse for San Diego State. Juwan Washington who rushed for 759 yards as a backup last season, will be the primary ball carrier for the Aztecs. I don’t see why Washington won’t pick up right from where Penny left off, but I expect, at least initially against elite competition, that they will see a decrease in production in the backfield.
Christian Chapman is back under center for the third-year at San Diego State. He is more of a game manager, but can make a play here and there when asked to. Chapman passed for 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions a year ago. He is down some targets in the receiving core, though. Fred Trevillon leads the team with just 12 receptions for 327 yards in 2017. San Diego State will likely attack a Stanford defensive line who is shuffling in new talent.
Love and Costello certainly remember what happened in San Diego last season. They went in with what appeared like zero preparation. Stanford had their eyes set on USC for weeks, yet forgot about their opponent the following week. I don’t see that happening this time around. They’ve had time to watch their mistakes from that game all summer long.
With this amount of time to prepare for San Diego State, I expect David Shaw to draw up something much better at home. San Diego State is going to offer some pushback tonight, but Stanford will be ready for it. This might be the best Stanford offense we’ve seen since Andrew Luck was the signal-caller. The defense is going to need time to come together, but I don’t expect it to impact them much against the Aztecs’ offense. Look for Stanford to deliver a bit of payback after San Diego State upset them a year ago. The Cardinal pull away late en route to a 31-13 or 35-17 victory home on campus.