Stanford rallied from double-digits down to eke out a 17-10 victory last week in South Bend. Unfortunately, they were not able to build on that comeback win, losing this weekend to Colorado in one of the ugliest games you will ever see. Here are four takeaways from Stanford's loss 10-5 loss to the Buffs.
Christian McCaffrey Can't Do It Alone
With McCaffrey back this weekend, you would have expected the offense to play better than they did last week against Notre Dame. Instead, the offense took a huge step backwards. When he initially was declared out, you could feel the entire fanbase of Stanford take a collective gasp, yet they managed without him. You’d think Colorado keyed in on McCaffrey, and the offense showed that it sputters badly when he cannot get any space to run. As mentioned recently on this site, McCaffrey can’t be the only thing going for the Cardinal. Other players need to step up to provide help, plain and simple.
Quenton Meeks Is a Stud
Without Meeks in the secondary against Washington and Washington State, the Cardinal secondary got torched repeatedly. With Meeks back in the lineup the last few weeks, the Stanford defense has been a completely different animal. Meeks is a shutdown corner who instantly elevates the quality of the defense. His 50-yard interception return to the house was the difference in the contest.
The Offense Is a Trainwreck
The offense only scored three points against Colorado. That is simply unacceptable. Things have got to change, and they have got to change immediately. The biggest two problems are the play of the offensive line and quarterback Ryan Burns. Kevin Hogan was the winningest quarterback in Stanford's history, and no one expected Burns to fill his shoes. However, throwing three interceptions in a big road game like he did this weekend against Colorado is pathetic. A change may be in order soon at quarterback.
The Defense Will Win Many Games
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from the last few weeks is that the defense is back. They were utterly destroyed by Washington and Washington State, giving up 86 points to the two schools from the Evergreen State. After two such miserable weeks, it was a breath of fresh air to hold Notre Dame and Colorado to just 10 points apiece. The only reason that Stanford stayed in the game against Colorado was because of the defense. The team will be in every game if the defense continues to play the way they have the last few weeks.
The Second Half Should Be Fun
The schedule for Stanford was severely front-loaded. The schedule from here on out will be incredibly soft. A win will be expected in every game the rest of the way. After suffering through a few brutal losses in the first half of the season, it will be nice for Stanford fans to be able to enjoy some easy victories in the second half.
If Stanford can win out, they will have nine victories with a change to get to 10 wins with a bowl victory. While that total is disappointing for a fan base that expects to challenge for the championship every year, it is still a good season. Winning out would also build some nice momentum heading into next year.