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Stanford vs. Oregon State: Best and Worst

A look back at the best and worst from Stanford's 27-23 win over Oregon State on Saturday.

Ezra Shaw

Best Seniors: The Cardinal's senior class -- the first in Stanford history to play in four straight bowl games -- was honored before the game.

Worst Inauspicious Start: Stanford gained 15 yards on its first two plays from scrimmage before Kevin Hogan completed his first pass of the game to Zach Ertz, but Feti Taumoepeau knocked the ball loose from the Cardinal tight end and Oregon State recovered at the Stanford 46.

Best Early Stand: The Beavers failed to capitalize, as AJ Tarpley stuffed Storm Woods on two running plays and Cody Vaz threw incomplete on third and long.

Worst Part of Living on the East Coast, Part I: I'm guessing Fox is contractually obligated to show the end of the ACC game that precedes its Pac-12 game in certain areas. It happened for Big Game and it happened again Saturday. By the time Georgia Tech put the finishing touches on its 68-50 win over UNC, there were about 5 minutes left in the first half at Stanford Stadium.

Best Running Back: With 114 yards against the Beavers, Stepfan Taylor went over 1,000 yards for the third straight season. "That's what the numbers would say," David Shaw answered when asked if Taylor is the best running back in Stanford history.

Best Drive:

Hogan was 4-for-5 with completions to four different players.

Worst Penalties: Henry Anderson was flagged for roughing the passer on Oregon State's next drive. It was the first of eight Stanford penalties, including two inexplicable offsides by nose tackle Terrence Stephens. Stephens did register the first solo sack of his Stanford career.

Best Use of a Fullback: Stanford went 80 yards on 10 plays on its next drive to take a 14-0 lead. Ryan Hewitt accounted for 46 of those yards on three catches, including a12-yard touchdown reception. Hewitt has six catches for 70 yards in his last two games. In five games before that, he had three catches for 19 yards. It's good to see him involved in the offense again.

Worst Storm (for Stanford): The Cardinal defense had held its previous three opponents to minus-36 yards rushing. Oregon State's Storm Woods finished with 94 yards on 15 carries. He was unstoppable on the Beavers' first scoring drive, which fellow running back Terron Ward finished off with a 7-yard touchdown run.

Best Superman Imitation: Oregon State moved the ball deep into Stanford territory on its next drive and appeared poised to tie the game. Facing 3rd and 2 from the Cardinal's 3-yard line, Vaz dropped back to pass, and flicked a throw toward the end zone. It never reached its intended target, as Chase Thomas jumped over his blocker and got a hand on the pass. Oregon State settled for a field goal.

Worst Fumble: With Stanford driving late in the first half, Taylor lost a fumble for the first time in 262 carries dating back to last season.

Worst Kick: Stanford forced an Oregon State punt after Taylor's fumble and Hogan's long completion to Ertz put the Cardinal in position to add three points to its lead before halftime, but Jordan Williamson's 51-yarder didn't have a chance.

Best Pick: It must be basketball season. On the Beavers' first drive of the second half, Vaz found speedy Markus Wheaton over the middle for a 22-yard touchdown that put the Beavers ahead 17-14. Freshman cornerback Alex Carter appeared to be picked on the play. "There was not (a pick) apparently because there was not a flag thrown," Shaw said after the game. "That's as much as I can say."

Worst Pick: Hogan was intercepted by Ryan Murphy on Stanford's next drive when his pass in the face of heavy pressure was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

Best Late Stand: The Beavers took over at the Stanford 27, but couldn't move the ball and settled for another field goal.

Best Kicker: Oregon State's Trevor Romaine, who was 3-for-3 on field goals, including two from 40-plus.

Best Redemption: Ertz made a huge catch on 3rd and 2 to keep the Cardinal's next drive alive.

Best Play: This, which pulled Stanford to within 23-21.

Best Sack: Oregon State was almost in field goal range on its next drive when Ben Gardner sacked Vaz on 3rd and 10 to force a punt.

Best Luck: This guy.

OK, But Seriously, Best Luck: After a Hogan punterception gave the Beavers the ball at their own 30, Vaz fumbled while avoiding the Stanford rush and Josh Mauro recovered for the Cardinal.

Worst Hold: Kevin Danser was called for holding on 1st and Goal from the Oregon State 4, backing the Cardinal back to the 13.

Best Pass: On the very next play, Hogan found Ertz in the back of the end zone.

Best/Worst Decision: Stanford went for two after Ertz scored the go-ahead touchdown. While being ahead by six points with 5 minutes to play might be a little better than being ahead by five points, the likelihood of Oregon State scoring a touchdown seemed much greater than the Beavers kicking two field goals, in which case being ahead by six points is really no better than being ahead by five points (especially considering Alex Serna graduated). I would've preferred Stanford kick the extra point, putting it in position to win the game with a field goal should OSU score a touchdown. "The Chart" says I'm wrong.

Worst Kickoff: Williamson booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, because of course he did. Just watch him kick a 55-yarder as time expires to beat Oregon next week.

Best/Worst Playcall: After the Stanford defense forced an OSU punt, the Cardinal had a chance to run some clock. Facing 3rd and 2 from the Stanford 34, Shaw called a Hogan rollout to the right. He was stopped one yard short of the marker and the Cardinal was forced to punt. I would've rather seen Taylor get the ball in that situation, but as one RoT contributor pointed out, the Beavers were stacking the box and the rollout had been effective all day. It might've been the single most difficult playcall of the game. I'm not upset with Shaw for making the call that he did.

Best Game-Clinching Sack: Alex Debniak got to Vaz on 3rd and 4 from the OSU 43, knocking him out of the game. Sean Mannion threw incomplete on the next play to seal Stanford's win.

Worst Part of Living on the East Coast, Part II: No In-n-Out.

Best BCS Debate: There's still a chance that Stanford goes to the Rose Bowl, win or lose on Saturday at Oregon, which is crazy. Start thinking of GameDay signs.