Last week, I wrote about how I'd gone to two straight losses and how David Shaw needed to try putting K.J. Costello behind center, and I even said that if attended a third straight loss, I'd consider myself a jinx. However after K.J. Costello's game-changing performance, maybe my presence was more of a blessing.
Chryst was struggling to spark the offense against a weak UCLA defense, and things didn't look good for the him and the Cardinal early on. Specifically, Chryst missed a wide-open Donald Stewart in the red zone, so Stanford had to settle for a field goal.
At first, the offense looked like nothing had changed after San Diego State as they were sluggish and predictable. But then, Keller Chryst got drilled on a run, knocking him out of the game—and, as it turns out, probably the starting role.
Costello finally got his shot (after swapping a few series with Ryan Burns ), and he impressed. He extended plays, found open receivers, and more importantly, brought life to Stanford's struggling offense.
In my opinion, the biggest difference between Chryst and Costello was mobility. Time and time again, Chryst got pressured and sacked, partly due to some early offensive line woes, but partly due to Chryst not finding receivers quickly enough. Meanwhile, Costello was decisive on short passes and used his legs to escape defenders and even ran in a touchdown, bulldozing his way to the corner pylon.
Ultimately, Costello didn't set fire to the stat sheet, but he did bring another dimension to the offense. The Stanford passing attack had been a non-factor in the past two weeks, but Costello made the Bruins respect Stanford's passing game. He completed 13 of 19 passes, threw two touchdowns, and ended with a 94.2 QBR.
Lastly, there's no doubt that Costello's performance had an effect an many facets of the game. With a new and improved passing game, Stanford wasn't as predictable, and the UCLA defense couldn't stack the box, which allowed Bryce Love to collect an insane 263 rushing yards.
Yes, the Bruins' defense is pretty bad. They allowed almost fifty points against Texas A&M and Memphis, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Headed into the game Saturday, no one would've expected Stanford to score 58 points with Chryst at quarterback, and Costello clearly helped mobilize an offense that was in the doldrums.
So just how Kevin Hogan replaced Josh Nunes and Keller Chryst replaced Ryan Burns, it's now time for K.J. Costello to follow suit.