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Stanford Cardinal football 2016: The Wheels are Coming Off

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Stanford falls again after giving up another 40 points in a game

NCAA Football: Washington State at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford dropped their second game, this time in a 42-16 loss to Washington State Saturday in a performance that leaves the Cardinal reeling. While they have struggled with injuries, the blowouts they are losing show a bigger problem then their bad luck with injuries.

Stanford has an inability to finish drives. In the first quarter Stanford’s defense not only held the Cougars to seven points, but also forced a turnover on the Cougars side of the ball. What does the Cardinal do? They miss a field goal and are forced to punt the ball all quarter. They had an opportunity to get control of the game and go up on Washington State early. Instead of punching it in, they played conservative and got burned. It has been a problem for most of the year but when their lines were winning their match ups, it was something that could be overlooked. Now it is a glaring problem.

This offensive line has had some struggles all year long, especially in the run game. However, the last two games teams have almost completely ignored the passing attack and loaded the box. Christian McCaffrey has been smacked around as much behind the line as past it. While it hurt to have McCaffey go out Love and Scarlett are good backs and the running game should have still had a shot. Burns, Chryst and Love combined for 18 attempts and 26 yards.

Ryan Burns was sacked four times, but that is no excuse for the amount of turnovers. He had two fumbles and only got one back. He also threw a pick, as did Keller Chryst. The quarterback spot is a mess for Stanford, Chryst has been thrown in these last couple games because of poor play and both have not been able to play better than the other guy. Despite the fact that Burns threw for 222 yards and had a 76 percent completion rate, the offense still only managed 10 points. They are in the same conference with quarterbacks like Davis Webb, Jake Browning, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Luke Falk and Troy Williams. To not have that position figured out will keep you out of games.

Stanford played a really good quarterback and we knew this was going to be a hard game right out the gate. Falk threw for 357 yards and a touchdown with a 73 precent completion rate. But he also threw two picks, one very early in the first quarter, and the Washington offense was held in check for only 14 points in the first half. This Stanford team squandered opportunities then turned the ball over in their own end to give the Cougars a short field. They made this easy for Falk and company down the stretch and put their defense in horrible position to succeed. The defensive line also only tallied two sacks and Falk looked comfortable in the pocket for a majority of the game. Now with McCaffrey having injury problems, Stanford is watching their season slip away.

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