The Stanford game was supposed to be a nice break in my week, but it just about gave me a heart attack. Even without Bryce Love, I expected the team to get a comfortable lead early on, so I could go study physics knowing the Cardinal would be 6-2 when I woke up the next morning.
Instead, the team imploded. They couldn't run or pass, and penalties and injuries continued to haunt the team. Ultimately though, David Shaw almost let this game slip away.
There's no doubt in my mind that Shaw should have benched Keller Chryst at halftime. Chryst went 7/16 for 82 yards, but he played much worse than his stats indicate. He threw into coverage, stared down receivers, and missed open guys. Early in the game, Chryst underthrew a wide open Trent Irwin in the red zone on third down. In fact, it was so underthrown that it should have been an interception. Stanford had to settle for a field goal.
Trailing 7-6 at halftime, I completely thought we'd see Costello start the opening series. The announcers thought so too. The team was unmotivated and uninspired, and KJ Costello was the spark we needed.
Who remembers UCLA?
Let's reminisce for a moment.
.@kj_costello led Stanford to eight straight scoring drives (7 TD, 1 FG) to finish the game last Saturday. #GoStanford pic.twitter.com/SBDgw6XKCr— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) September 28, 2017
Like the Oregon State game, Stanford was losing and struggling on offense against UCLA. Then, K.J. Costello came in. He found success through the air and on the ground, but what truly set him apart from Chryst was his decision making. Costello scanned the field against the Bruins yet still managed to make quick throws. Meanwhile, Chryst continuously locked into one guy, and if he's not open, he'd either throw the ball anyway or just hold the ball and take the sack.
Above all though, I love Costello's mojo. He plays with emotion and fire, brings energy to the guys around him, and what was the result? Eight straight scoring drives. I honestly believe with him in the game Stanford would've blown out Oregon State in the second half.
I'm truly baffled over David Shaw's decision not to try Costello. He pulled the trigger years ago to play Kevin Hogan over Josh Nunes. So why is Shaw being so hesitant, especially when he let Chryst and Costello share snaps against Utah? Maybe he wanted to test Chryst’s mettle. Maybe Shaw's just stubborn.
On the bright side, Chryst and Stanford (eventually) clawed out a win against Oregon State.