No. 23 Stanford (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) vs. Oregon (4-2, 1-2)
King Jemison: Stanford 38, Oregon 21
This game seemed a lot more difficult for the Cardinal before Oregon starting quarterback Justin Herbert went down with his collarbone injury. In their first game without the talented sophomore, the Ducks offense managed a paltry 10 points at home against Washington State when they 43 points a game. I’m thinking Stanford’s loaded secondary should be able to force Oregon backup Braxton Burmeister into some mistakes. I don’t love facing running back Royce Freeman without Peter Kalambayi and Harrison Phillips in the first half, but the offense can pick up the slack. Even though Oregon has a solid rush defense, nobody’s stopping Bryce Love. At some point, he’s gonna get loose and break off a big run. The Stanford quarterback situation is dicey, but whoever plays gets to face a pretty weak secondary. Plus, both KJ Costello and Keller Chryst have shown promise in the midst of Stanford’s three-game win streak. I think the Cardinal jump out to a big lead and cruise in the second half.
Matt Bernstein: Stanford 35, Oregon 18
Even though there is a connection between No. 23 Stanford (4-2, 3-1) and unranked Oregon (4-2, 1-2) through Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, who was a position coach at Stanford from 2007-2009, that’s where the similarities end. The Ducks have been struggling without their starting quarterback, sophomore Justin Herbert, and are coming off a 33-10 loss to No. 8 Washington State. Even though Oregon has the nation’s 10th-ranked rushing defense, I expect Heisman contender Bryce Love to have another phenomenal game. He leads the FBS in yards with 1,240 and sports a 10.5 yards per carry average. He also averages 206.7 yards per game. Look for Keller Chryst and KJ Costello to have a solid game at quarterback and take a supporting role to Love just as they have in recent wins over UCLA, Arizona State, and Utah. With Stanford riding a three game win streak and playing in front of their home crowd, I predict another Cardinal win with a final score of 35-18.
Sam Curry: Stanford 34, Oregon 23
While Stanford should by all means win this game, I don’t think it will be as easy for the Cardinal as some think, even with the Ducks missing Justin Herbert. Braxton Burmeister wasn’t impressive last week, but evaluating a true freshman based on his first start, against one of the best pass defenses and teams in the country nonetheless, isn’t fair. Burmeister is an unknown variable and might just burn Stanford’s shaky defense if it overlooks him. Then we have the known variable on Oregon’s offense, Royce Freeman. This guy is bound to hurt Stanford on the ground in the first half with Harrison Phillips and Peter Kalambayi out, and even when they come back he is more than capable of gashing the Cardinal defense. All that being said, I think Oregon’s rush defense has had the benefit of facing a lot of air-it-out offenses, and they definitely haven’t yet seen a back like Bryce Love, and I see Love going for at least 200 yards Saturday. Keller Chryst torched this Oregon defense last year, and the 258 yards he threw for in Eugene last year remains his career high. I’m going to say this one stays close until the fourth quarter, when Stanford pulls away with a 50+ yard Bryce Love touchdown run.
Contact King Jemison at kingj ‘at’ stanford.edu, Matt Bernstein at mbernste ‘at’ stanford.edu and Sam Curry at currys ‘at’ stanford.edu.