The Stanford Cardinal travel further south to San Diego for a Week 3 meeting with the Aztecs. Stanford are coming off a 42-24 loss to USC at the Coliseum. Stanford doesn’t usually get pushed around, but USC gave them a dose of their own medicine. The USC running game was able to exert its will on Stanford, and did whatever they wanted to on Stanford for the majority of the contest.
Other than a few plays by the secondary, the Cardinal defense was manhandled. That isn’t easy to do against Stanford, and USC toyed with them throughout the evening. It isn’t the end of the year for Stanford, by a long shot, they’re in still in contention to be playing in a high-tier bowl game come the winter.
The Pac-12 isn’t the easiest of conferences to traverse, and when you have an opportunity to beat inferior out of conference competition, that moment must be seized. Stanford certainly took care of business against Rice, and now will have another opportunity against an out of conference opponent. They are better than Rice, but this is a game they must win. Stanford is good at winning those winnable games, but we’ll see how up they are to play the Aztecs after getting blasted by USC last week.
When Stanford gets from behind, their playing style really hurts them. The Cardinal loves to run the ball and wear the opposition out. When they’re down big, though, that game plan needs to get switched up quickly. And you know what, I really like Keller Chryst. When Stanford asked him to throw in the pocket, he looked good against USC.
He threw for just 172 yards because the plan didn’t put the ball in his hands. Nevertheless, Chryst threw 2 touchdowns, bringing his total up to 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on the year. Chryst, in my opinion, is better than previous Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan had more legs, but Chryst throws a more accurate ball. If he was in one of those air-raid offenses, he’d be putting up monster numbers. NFL scouts will like the fact that he plays in a pro-style offense, though. Head below to see our thoughts on if Stanford can bounce back tonight against San Diego State.
Stanford Cardinal vs. San Diego State Aztecs Betting Odds:
vs. San Diego State +8.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Stanford vs. San Diego State Pick:
San Diego State will be tasked with slowing down Bryce Love and Stanford. Christian McCaffrey retires, and Stanford just reloads with another strong runner. Love isn’t so loving when he has a head of steam and is running downfield. He’s already galloped for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns in just two games. Love has a whopping average of 11.3 yards per carry. No doubt that he will see plenty of touches against San Diego State. Like I said, Stanford has a capable passer, so it isn’t just a matter of shutting their runners down.
San Diego State heads into this matchup with a 2-0 record, after wins over UC-Davis and Arizona State. Neither of those wins impress me any. You may say beating Arizona State on the road is impressive, but the Sun Devils have been a dumpster fire for a couple years now. San Diego State faces a huge uptick in competition against Stanford. The Aztecs will do just what Stanford wants to do, pound the rock and control the clock.
Senior Christian Chapman does a good job of protecting the ball, and his role is similar to Chryst’s Chapman threw for 20 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in 2016. He’s off to a nice start with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, but the strength of Stanford is in their secondary. If they have to pass, which I think they’ll need to do, it’s going to be a long road for San Diego State in this game. Darnold moving the ball is one thing, but it will not be the easiest for San Diego State and Chapman. The Aztecs are Stanford-lite, and I think the Cardinal will show them why they’re the better team in this game. Stanford bounces back and trounces San Diego State in Week 3.
PICK: STANFORD -8.5 (-110)