Moving up to No. 22 in the AP Top 25 Poll, Stanford football (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) ran over Oregon (4-3, 1-3) in a 49-7 victory on Saturday night. Junior running back Bryce Love had a great game breaking 100 yards of rushing within the first five minutes, making this the ninth-straight game that he’s done so. However, senior quarterback Keller Chryst had the best performance of the night.
Stanford’s fourth-straight win is making them competitive in the Pac-12 again, tied with USC for the best in-conference record after both top-10-ranked Washington and Washington State lost this weekend.
Chryst started off the game strong with a 34-yard completion to junior wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. He would continue his solid play until he was subbed out in the fourth quarter.
He ended the game 15-21 for 181 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The last time Chryst threw for three touchdowns? At Oregon in a 52-27 win for the Cardinal in 2016.
Chryst wasn’t alone in shining against a tough but injury-plagued Oregon team. Love scored on Stanford’s first two possessions of the game.
Love is also on track to be the conference player of the year, now with 11 touchdowns and 1,387 rushing yards, which is 293 yards more than the second-leading rusher in the nation.
Love ended with 147 yards and two touchdowns in only two quarters of play where Oregon constantly stacked the box. The only thing that stopped Love was an injury suffered on his first carry in the second half.
“Bryce was great in the first half,” head coach David Shaw said. “Got banged up. No reason for us to put him back in with the score the way it was. We left him out.”
Stanford has a bye week, so Love will have time to heal.
The Cardinal quarterback situation has been up in the air for a lot of this season, but this game they managed a more consistent pass attack, partially thanks to Oregon attempting to stop the run.
As coach Willie Taggart explained, “You know, when you can run the ball and the defense is so focused on stopping runs, sometimes guys can get open because they’re looking to stop the run.”
One of those guys was junior wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, described as a “big play receiver” by Shaw, who returned this week. He ended the game with 112 yards and two touchdowns off of six receptions. The only dim spot was Stanford’s one interception, when Chryst’s throw to the end zone bounced off of Arcega-Whiteside’s hands and into the hands of a Ducks defensive back.
On the topic, Shaw noted, “It’s a shame he got an interception, instead of a touchdown pass, just [Arcega-Whiteside] missed that one.” He remained optimistic overall though.
“The story of the game for me is Keller Chryst,” coach Shaw praised of the senior. “[Chryst] played so well, so composed. Handled all the protections and all the running game and made big-time throws.”
The play of the offensive line helped maintain Stanford’s passing ability, with the Cardinal playing another game without any sacks.
The Stanford defense ended up with two interceptions in the first half, which kept Oregon’s momentum low and helped to hold the Ducks to one score.
“[I] thought Quenton Meeks’ interception was unbelievable,” coach Shaw said of junior cornerback Quenton Meeks pick. “It was great. He was covering somebody else and came off to make the play.”
He also praised junior outside linebacker Casey Toohill’s first interception of his career, saying, “those always end up being deflections and not interceptions, but great job by him grabbing it and holding on to it.”
Stanford ended with 21 points in the first quarter thanks to two scores by Love and a reception by Arcega-Whiteside. After a blocked punt by sophomore outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, senior safety Brandon Simmons scooped up the ball and scored, bringing the game to 28-7 at the half.
Oregon managed a solid rush game, ending with 286 total yards, 144 of which came from running back Royce Freeman.
Of course, those totals are less surprising when you see that they only attempted 13 passes, perhaps due to the two interceptions early on.
Fifth-year senior outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi and senior defensive tackle Harrison Phillips were suspended in the first half from targeting penalties occurring against Utah last week. After halftime, they came back and the senior captains helped stopped the run, leaving Oregon scoreless in the second half.
Another touchdown catch by Arcega-Whiteside, followed by two scoring receptions by Colby Parkinson — one each from Costello and Chryst — brought Stanford to its eventual 49-7 victory.
Junior wide receiver Jay Tyler even got a throw in, completing a trick play to fifth-year senior quarterback Ryan Burns for 16 yards, which Shaw said they had been practicing for “three weeks.”
Oregon was plagued by penalties the entire game, with nine penalties taking 101 yards away from them and helping Stanford secure dominance.
In the end, the only thing that can match Bryce Love at this point might just be the rabbit that ran onto the field in the first quarter, causing about a five-minute delay as it “scored” three touchdowns and racked up over 250 rushing yards.
Perhaps Shaw will recruit it if Love isn’t healthy for the game at Oregon State on Oct. 26.
Contact Ariana Rollins at arianar ‘at’ stanford.edu.