This was a great team game for the Cardinal as they scored 30 points in the first half for the first time since last years Rose Bowl.
What They Did
Keller Chryst finally let loose passing by pushing the ball down the field with throws of 61, 17 and 15. He finished the day with 258 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing passes to six different receivers. He forced the defense on their heels and most importantly, did not turn the ball over.
The receivers had their best game since USC in week three as JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Michael Rector both had four receptions and combined for three touchdowns. While Whiteside had 106 yards and the 61 yard catch, Rector was able to be more of a threat in the red zone and ended with 45 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The running game also was fantastic as Christian McCaffrey ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came in the first half. He ended with a 7.9 yards per carry average and busted out an early 61 yard run. Bryce Love also had 82 yards on only five carries ending with a 16.4 yards an attempt. Even third string back Cameron Scarlett had 68 yards and a touchdown.
On the defense the Cardinal bottled up Freeman on the ground and held him to under 50 yards in the first half. The Cardinal also forced four turnovers and had three sacks along with six tackles for loss. Harrison Phillips was a huge force up the middle and had two of the sacks for Stanford. The unit overall played really well and was very aggressive thanks to an early lead from the offense.
Safety Justin Reid was huge all game long, racking up 10 solo tackles and three tackles for loss. He was solid in coverage but was instrumental in coming up against the run and putting pressure on the offensive line. Defensive player of the game.
On offense their are plenty of options with Whiteside, Chryst and McCaffrey all playing lights out. However, my offensive player is Michael Rector. While he had a modest amount of yards (45), this team has struggled all year turning red zone trips into touchdowns. Rector had two touchdowns, both inside the red zone. He is the big, jump ball receiver they have been waiting for him to be inside the red zone and he showed up big this weekend.
Keller looks great, McCaffrey is healthy, the defense is forcing turnovers and there are two weak teams left to play on the season. This team is ending strong and will hopefully set themselves up for a solid bowl game.