Continuing a torrid streak running the football, the No. 24 Stanford Cardinal (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) took to the ground early and often in a 41-17 rout of the visiting Rice Owls (3-9, 2-6 C-USA), capping off the regular season with a five-game winning streak.
The Cardinal, who amassed 356 rushing yards, got the ground game going early on their first possession when quarterback Keller Chryst escaped from the pocket on third down, tiptoed down the sideline and bulldozed an Owl defensive back en route to a 62-yard touchdown, the longest rushing score by a Stanford quarterback in over 20 years. Chryst finished his day completing 11 of his 16 passes for 154 yards and two passing touchdowns.
After kicking two field goals and punting on their next three drives, the Cardinal found the end zone again in the second quarter behind a 23-yard receiving touchdown from Chryst to Christian McCaffrey. The do-it-all junior turned in another stellar all-purpose performance despite sitting out for much of the fourth quarter, rushing 30 times for 204 yards and a touchdown while grabbing two passes for another 23 yards in what might have been his final game in Stanford Stadium.
The Cardinal would go on to put the game on ice in the third quarter, following a 16-yard rushing touchdown from McCaffrey, a 50-yard Bryce Love dash to the end zone on a reverse and a 45-yard connection from Chryst to senior Francis Owusu. McCaffrey and Love would each eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark, becoming the first Stanford tandem to accomplish the feat since Kevin Hogan and McCaffrey last season against Washington State.
The Stanford defense also closed out the regular season with a trademark consistent performance, holding the Owls to 291 yards of total offense and a meager 5-for-20 conversion rate on third down. Fifth-year senior safety Dallas Lloyd, in his final game in a Cardinal uniform, led all Stanford defenders with seven tackles.
The Cardinal now await word on their bowl fate, which will be announced at the end of next week. With a bowl victory, Stanford will finish with a 10-win season for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Contact Vihan Lakshman at vihan ‘at’ stanford.edu.