Oklahoma State football: What you need to know about the Stanford Cardinal

STANFORD PRIMER — Could Oklahoma State give Stanford the same kind of trouble Oregon did?
by Gina Mizell Published: December 13, 2011

It has to be the “worst” loss because it's the only one the Cardinal has, but it also knocked Stanford out of contention for the Pac-12 title and the national championship.

Five turnovers, including three by Luck, helped Oregon cruise to a 53-30 victory.

Why the Cardinal won 11 games

Luck is the Cardinal's superstar, but Stanford has an underrated ground game that ranks 22nd in the nation in rushing (207.92 yards per game). Running behind a big offensive line, Taylor and Tyler Gaffney both average more than five yards per carry.

Stanford is also stout on defense, particularly in the front seven. The Cardinal ranks fifth in the nation in rushing defense (90.33 yards allowed per game) and 25th in total defense (331.42 yards allowed per game).

Why the Cardinal lost one

The turnovers clearly cost Stanford in the loss to Oregon, but the Cardinal was also exposed in the overall strength versus speed matchup. Oregon's spread offense was simply too quick for the Cardinal defense to handle.

Why it will beat OSU

If the Stanford offensive line handles the OSU defensive front, that will open things up for the running game and could allow Luck to pick apart the Cowboys through the air. And if the Cardinal defensive line can stuff the OSU rushing attack, that could make the Cowboys dangerously one-dimensional (see: Iowa State game).

Why it will lose to OSU

The OSU spread offense isn't an exact duplicate of Oregon's, but it's just as dynamic and features plenty of speed. And the Cowboy defense had a breakthrough against Oklahoma, using blitz after blitz to get after Landry Jones. If the Cowboys can get that same type pressure on Luck, the Stanford offense could struggle.

by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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