The Stanford Cardinal will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they take on the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers at home on Saturday.
In one of their toughest tests of the season, the Cardinal will have to face one of the Pac-12’s best defenses.
Oregon State ranks fifth in the nation in run defense, allowing just 91 yards per game on the ground in 2012. While he should still be effective behind his strong offensive line, Stepfan Taylor will be truly tested against the Beavers’ tough front seven. Getting into a groove in the running game early is key for Stanford.
There are still question marks under center for the Cardinal, but it appears Kevin Hogan will likely take the reigns of the offense after his recent strong performances. Oregon State has picked off 14 passes this season, good enough for fourth in the nation, so Hogan will have to step up his game against the Beavers.
On the other side of the ball, Stanford’s run defense has been literally impenetrable of late, allowing negative yardage on the ground over the last two weeks. They currently rank first in the nation, allowing only 55 yards per game on the ground.
The Cardinal front seven should continue their success against Oregon State’s run offense that ranks only tenth in the Pac-12.
One of the best matchups to watch is the Beavers’ strong, young passing attack against Stanford’s sometimes porous secondary. The Cardinal have struggled with pass defense at times this season, allowing 266 yards per game through the air. They will have to step up if they want to stop a potent Oregon State aerial attack.
The game kicks off at noon, and has significant implications for the layout of the Pac-12. Keep an eye on those matchups as the game plays out.