It is hard to call this a big win for Stanford (6-4 / 4-3 PAC 12), though the scoring differential indicates as much, because simply put Oregon State (2-8 / 1-6 PAC 12) is just not very good. In a sport where you are measured against the best, this was not that. However, the team did become Bowl eligible with the 48-17 victory, and it was a solid conference win, on Senior Night, where the offense finally got back in rhythm.
On that level, Cardinal 6’8” sophomore tight end Colby Parkinson (6 receptions / 166 yards / 4 TD’s / 27.7 YPR) was a beast on The Farm versus OSU, and became the first tight end to be named PAC-12 Player of the Week in five years. The young TE showed off both his elite athleticism and size against a vulnerable Beavers secondary, though frankly I am not sure anyone can truly cover him with his natural length and abilities.
Parkinson is a sure-fire NFL talent, as is fellow Stanford end senior Kaden Smith (3 receptions / 34 yards / 11.3 YPR), who served more fundamentally as a blocker in this contest. Together they are likely the top tight end tandem in college football, though that only gives more cause for concern regarding the offensive struggles this year for The Card.
Stanford junior quarterback K.J. Costello (23 for 33 passing / 342 yards / 4 TD / 1 INT / 94.4 QBR) was also effective against Oregon State, spreading the ball around to ten different receivers on the night. It has been an up and down year for the Cardinal junior QB, but in all fairness, “Dr.” Love has been injured and his offensive line has played well below their capabilities up to this point.
Speaking of ‘The Doctor’, Stanford All-World running back Bryce Love (11 carries / 90 yards / 1 TD / 8.2 YPC) looked to be 90% healthy for the first time since the first game of the season. Just last week I wrote that Coach Shaw should sit Love for the remaining three games, in the best interests of his future in the The League, but thankfully he looks to be back at nearly full speed.
Defensively for Stanford, the linebacking corp was strong throughout against the Beavers. Senior Sean Barton (5 tackles / 2 PD / 1 QBH), junior Jordan Fox (4 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD), and sophomore Gabe Reid (5 tackles / 1 QBH / 1 PD) were all impact players in both stopping the run and pass coverage.
In the secondary, senior Frank Buncom (4 tackles / 2 PD / 1 INT), junior Obi Eboh (6 tackles / 2 PD), and junior Malik Antoine (4 tackles / 1 PD) all played well for the Cardinal, helping to hold a potent OSU offense to only 17 points.
Going forward, it is BIG GAME week vs. the CAL Bears, and it does not get any bigger than that for Stanford. The oldest rivalry in the West began began back in 1892, and this will be the 121st meeting of the two schools on the football field. The Cardinal currently hold the longest winning streak in the history of the legendary rivalry, having won the last 8 since 2010. That being said this year’s matchup should be the closest in years, as both teams are 6-4 going in, and fairly evenly matched by most statistical accounts. So, while the season has certainly not gone the way Coach Shaw or the team would have liked, there is still much to play for.
Each week I finish my Stanford column with ‘Win or lose, Roll Red’, but please disregard that this week and BEAT CAL.