COLLEGE GAME PREVIEW

CFB Preview: No. 21 Stanford at Oregon State

Sports Xchange

September 25, 2015 at 11:09 am.

Sep 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) is listed as questionable vs. Oregon State. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

KICKOFF: Friday, 10 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 9/25/15
SITE: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
TV: Fox Sports 1
SERIES: Stanford leads Oregon State 53-25-3 and has won the last five in a row.
RANKINGS: Stanford 21st

KEYS TO THE GAME

Oregon State last defeated Stanford in 2009, before any player on the current roster had enrolled at OSU. Is that motivation for Friday night’s Pac-12 opener for the Beavers?

“When you haven’t beaten somebody for a long time, it’s more concerning to me that the kids believe that they can walk in and win that game more so than motivation, because you have not beat them,” Beavers coach Gary Andersen said. “Our kids have tremendous respect for a program that has had a whole bunch of success for a number of years, so the respect from our part is warranted and I know it’s there.”

Two of the losses to Stanford have been by a single-digits, but the other three were more one-sided than the score as the Cardinal physically dominated Oregon State, including last season’s 38-14 win by the Cardinal when Stanford outgained OSU in yards by a 438-to-221 margin. The Beavers know that’s the foremost challenge, simply standing up against Stanford, which resembles in many ways the Michigan style of play that OSU couldn’t match up with two weeks ago.

Only Stanford is clearly a better overall team than Michigan, especially if veteran quarterback Kevin Hogan (ankle) is able to play.

“There’s a lot to that offense and they do a very nice job with it,” Andersen said. “They’re a physical team on both sides, offense and defense. The schemes are very good and their kids are well-coached and they’re smart young men that stay in the right spots and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. So it’ll be a great challenge for us and we look forward to preparing for it.”

There were serious concerns about Stanford’s offense following the loss to Northwestern and a sluggish first half against Central Florida, but Stanford has responded nicely. The Cardinal was 8-of-12 on third-down conversions, dominated time of possession by a two-to-one margin, scored on seven of its 10 possessions and converted on all six of its red-zone opportunities against USC.

“In the pregame talk, I had all the guys stand up who had played in Pac-12 title games, and that’s half the team,” Shaw said. “Our guys are used to playing in big games.”

Shaw also made sure his players remembered there will be more big games ahead.

“Our guys were celebrating after the game, but I reminded them we don’t get a trophy for this one,” Shaw said. “It’s a regular-season game against a conference opponent that we won on the road. That’s great, but we get back to work.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Beavers

–WR Victor Bolden showed signs of breaking loose against San Jose State with two receptions for 31 yards and four runs for a net of 27 yards. The Beavers need an explosion play or two out of the junior receiver against the likes of Stanford.

–DT Kyle Peko, who sat out the past two seasons while getting his academics in order to enroll at OSU, has been showing what a physical force he can be in the middle of the defensive line. Coaches felt he was one of the defenders who battled the strongest against Michigan’s power running game, and he’ll need to continue to improve in that role and hold up against Stanford.

–S Justin Strong is second on the team with 19 tackles and he’ll need to be productive against Stanford both in supporting the front seven against the run and in his role in the secondary. Stanford’s offense is challenging because the running game demands attention from the secondary, and safeties have to be aware of being fooled into coming up too soon, particularly with the way the Cardinal uses tight ends over the middle.

Cardinal
–Senior QB Kevin Hogan is now tied for fourth all-time at Stanford on a star-studded list with 53 career touchdown passes. Andrew Luck is the career leader with 82. He is followed by John Elway (77), Steve Stenstrom (74) and Jim Plunkett (53).

–Sophomore RB Christian McCaffrey is first in the Pac-12 and fourth in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 195.3 per contest. Glyn Milburn holds Stanford’s single-season record for all-purpose yards. He averaged 171.8 per game in 1992.

–TE Austin Hooper had a big game against USC after catching just one pass for 11 yards a week earlier against Central Florida. Hooper had four catches for a career-high 79 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown reception. Stanford coach David Shaw called Hooper “one of the best tight ends in the nation.”

–LB Blake Martinez is leading the Pac-12 with 12.7 tackles per game. He has led the team in tackles in each game this season and tied his career high with 14 in the win over USC.

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