By Jose Saldana
Both senior quarterback Keller Chryst and the Cardinal defense had their best performances of the season, which helped No. 23 Stanford (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) blow out the Oregon Ducks (4-3, 1-3) 49-7 on Saturday night in Stanford Stadium.
It was Chryst’s second career game with three passing touchdowns, and both have been against Oregon.
The defense came to play with two interceptions and one fumble recovery. It only allowed 7 points to an Oregon team, which was averaging 43 points per game.
Although Chryst played great, junior running back Bryce Love was the story early in the game.
He barely waited for the starting whistle to finish echoing in Stanford Stadium to announce his presence.
On Stanford’s first possession, Love had a 34-yard run and would score the touchdown on that drive. On the following Cardinal possession, Love had his ninth straight game with a 50-yard touchdown run when he took the first play of the drive 67 yards into the endzone.
In the first five minutes of the game, Love had 115 rushing yards on five carries and two touchdowns. He finished with 147 rushing yards and 8.6 yards per carry.
Chryst was no slouch either to start the game. He found junior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who didn’t play against Utah last week, for two long receptions of 34 and 30 yards. Chryst connected with Arcega-Whiteside on a lob throw to the back left corner of the end zone to put Stanford up 21-7 late in the first quarter.
The defense, on the other hand, started off slowly as Oregon running back Royce Freeman gouged the Cardinal for 95 rushing yards on five carries on the Ducks’ first two possessions.
Both senior fifth-year outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi and senior defensive tackle Harrison Phillips were suspended for the first half due to targeting penalties against Utah. It looked like the Stanford defense needed them and were struggling to contain the Ducks running game.
The Cardinal special teams got in on the action in the first half with a block of Oregon’s punt in the second quarter that was recovered by senior safety Brandon Simmons, who then scored to raise the lead to 28-7.
Then, later in the second quarter, Chryst threw to an open Arcega-Whiteside on a slant route in the endzone. The normally sure-handed receiver bobbled the ball and ended up in the hands of Ducks cornerback Deommodore Lenoir for an interception touchback with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
The first half ended with Stanford on top 28-7. The second period started just as well for the Cardinal.
Oregon had the first possession of the half and was forced to punt by the Stanford defense, which was now with Kalambayi and Phillips.
Although there was a scare for the Cardinal with Love going out with an injury, Chryst and junior running back Cameron Scarlett marched down the field. Chryst threw a strike for Arcega-Whiteside’s second touchdown and to give Stanford a 35-7 lead.
Chryst would throw his third touchdown of the game on a fade to freshman-end Colby Parkinson early in the fourth quarter to push Stanford’s lead to 35.
Costello, who came in for Chryst at the end of the first quarter, replaced Chryst for good with eight minutes remaining in the game. He engineered a nine-play, 58-yard touchdown drive, which ended in Parkinson’s second touchdown of the game.
Costello was 5-6 for 59 passing yards and one touchdown.
All the running backs on the roster carried the ball at least four times in the game.
The Cardinal had 504 yards of total offense to Oregon’s 309. Stanford also led in time of possession with 37 minutes to the Ducks’ 23 minutes, and it was the first time that Stanford football scored 40 or more points against Oregon in back-to-back games.
Stanford will now rest with a bye next week but will head to Corvallis, Oregon, on Oct. 26 to face Oregon State at 6 p.m.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.