Instead of a trouncing, the Stanford Cardinal had trouble putting away a feisty Kansas State Wildcat team late in Friday nights 26-13 win, as the defense for both teams showed up in a big way.
Early on the Cardinal offense looked explosive as Ryan Burns looked fantastic running the offense and ended with 156 yards. He hit Michael Rector for 40 yards and a touchdown and did not see his first incompletion till late in the second quarter. Then a strange switch at quarterback to give Chryst a drive effectively killed the offensive momentum and the Cardinal petered out for most of the game. After the switch at quarterback Burns continued to played well but all of the passes were short, followed by runs up the middle. There was a real pain while watching the uninspired offensive play calling for Stanford in most of the second and all of the third quarter.
Despite the disparity in talent, Kansas State played extremely well on the defensive line which was helped by Stanford’s unwillingness to continue to spread out the defense. When they did try to spread the defense out on the run they went without McCaffrey. I also have a bone to pick with the offensive line, who all played fairly poorly while run blocking. Almost every other run McCaffrey’s first cut was made in the backfield to try and get back to the line of scrimmage. The offensive line and offensive play calling need to change drastically. Given those problems McCaffrey still had a pair of touchdown runs from over 30 yards out and finished with 210 total yards.
On the defensive side the Cardinal racked up eight sacks, eight tackles for loss, a two picks and a safety. Needless to say they showed up to play and came out with their ears pinned back. Outside Linebacker Peter Kalambayi had a huge night with three tackles for loss and two and a half sacks. The front seven always dependable for the Cardinal but save a few big plays the back end played very well. Quenton Meeks had a pick late in the game and Safety Justin Reid had broke up a pass and had five tackles. Both those guys will have to be leaders in the secondary and hold down the top receivers as other defensive backs had some slip-ups in coverage.
There were multiple miscues, one of which led to a McCaffrey punt return touchdown being called back. Across the board Stanford has the talent but needs to tighten up as they have the toughest part of their schedule ahead.
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