By Samuel Curry
The Stanford Cardinal (6-2, 5-1 Pac-12) edged the Oregon State Beavers (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) 15-14 in a Pac-12 contest at Reser Stadium in Corvallis Thursday night. The Cardinal were lifted to victory by a touchdown reception from junior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside on a fade throw to the corner from senior quarterback Keller Chryst with 20 seconds left to play.
Oregon State looked primed to complete what would have been perhaps the biggest Pac-12 upset of the season, as they held the ball up 14-9 with 1st & 10 and roughly two and a half minutes left in the game.
Senior defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and fifth year outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi quickly changed Stanford’s fortunes, however.
Phillips bursted through the middle and knocked the ball loose from Oregon State junior running back Ryan Nall’s hands. Nall juggled the ball and was hit by an unblocked Kalambayi, who ultimately knocked the ball back to Phillips, who made the recovery.
“You can’t say enough about Harrison Phillips, and the effort and determination with which he plays,” said head coach David Shaw. “When the game’s on the line you expect your senior captains to make plays, and Harrison did that, and found a way to come away with that ball at the end of the game.”
The Cardinal took over at Oregon State’s 40-yard line and were put in great position to score their first touchdown of the game and take the lead for the first time since the second quarter.
It was not quite so easy for the Cardinal, though, as they were immediately forced to a 4th & 10 situation. Chryst proceeded to throw over the middle to sophomore tight end Kaden Smith who made an impressive catch over an Oregon State defender to put the Cardinal at the Oregon State 15-yard line and sustain their hopes of escaping Reser Stadium alive.
After several short gains, the Cardinal found themselves on the three-yard line for 2nd & goal.
Enter JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
In a play somewhat reminiscent of the comeback win against UCLA last season, Chryst threw a fade to Arcega-Whiteside who jostled for position with an Oregon State defensive back before coming down with the ball to put the Cardinal up 15-14.
“[Arcega-Whiteside] seems to always make the big plays for us,” said junior running back Cameron Scarlett.
The catch was one of three in the game for Arcega-Whiteside, who had 30 receiving yards when all was finished. Chryst went 16-33 for 141 yards, a touchdown, and an interception on the night.
Junior running back Bryce Love did not play in the game, as he is still recovering from an apparent ankle injury. His replacement, Cameron Scarlett, struggled to find gaps in the Beavers defense and ultimately finished with just 72 yards on 4.2 yards per carry.
Stanford only rushed for 81 yards as a team, their lowest total since losing to Washington State 42-16 last season.
“It was tough,” said Scarlett. “Oregon State played a great game. They gave us their best punch and we knew that coming in. We had to make some adjustments in the second half and we started running the ball a little bit better, but we have to get back to the drawing boards, go watch some film and see what we can do next week.”
“It is hard to win a conference game, in any conference, late in the season on the road,” said Shaw. “It doesn’t have to be pretty, and we found a way to get it done.”
Next up for Oregon State, a team that seems somewhat revitalized after their head coach Gary Andersen resigned, is a trip to Cal. The Beavers are still searching for their first conference win of the season. As for the Cardinal, they begin a brutal stretch to finish the season that includes three top-15 teams and rival Cal. Stanford begins that stretch by traveling north to Pullman next weekend for a matchup with the Washington State Cougars.
Contact Sam Curry at currys ‘at’ stanford.edu.