The Stanford Cardinal lost to the San Diego State Aztecs 20-17, the second time that the Cardinal have lost to the Aztecs in school history, with the last loss to the Aztecs back in 1985. Now they have dropped to 1-2, with their only victory over an awful Rice team and the only bright spot being running back Bryce Love.
The first problem is quarterback Keller Chryst, who looked great in game one, average in game two against USC and like a disaster in game three, throwing only 72 yards and responsible for three turnovers. Now granted, the offensive line has been inconsistent to say the least, helping Love get to 184 rushing yards but letting up four sacks against the Aztecs front.
That still does not excuse a steep descent from Chryst, who has fallen off the map in three weeks. This leaves David Shaw and the Stanford coaching staff in a bind, whether to stick with Chryst, go back to the starter from a year ago in Ryan Burns (Lord please no) or try to throw in the sophomore K.J. Costello and hope the running game is enough to bail him out. Whatever they do moving forward, the Cardinal have already found last year’s big problem.
The second problem may actually be more concerning, which is that the defense failed to force a turnover or get crucial stop down the stretch. The Aztecs went on three double digit play drives and four drives of 50 or more yards. They dominated the time of possession with 41 minutes, 14 seconds of offense, slowly grinding down the clock and doing exactly what Stanford has done to so many teams.
And to the Stanford faithful, yes I realize that the first Aztecs touchdown was on the heels of a Chryst interception deep in Stanford territory. But the Cardinal defense bailed out this team time and again last season. Even last game against Sam Darnold and the Trojans, the defense had their struggles and lapses, but still gave their offense extra possessions via turnovers.
This team is a flawed one, in need of a quarterback, offensive line, and defensive front to find themselves and play like we hoped they could headed into the year.