As the Stanford Cardinal look to continue their march towards an undefeated season and a possible berth to the National Championship game, they'll be making a stop up in Corvallis this Saturday to take on the Oregon State Beavers. Although Stanford is heavily favored, they can't get complacent and start looking ahead to next week's meeting with the Oregon Ducks, so here are three keys to ensure a Cardinal victory this week.
Stanford's running game vs. Oregon State's defense:
Oregon State's rush defense is ranked 55th nationally out of the 120 FBS schools, meaning stopping the bruising Cardinal ground attack will be a problem. The Beavers also have a lot of trouble making plays behind the line of scrimmage, giving Stanford RB's even more time and room to work. When Stanford crowds the line with six or seven o-linemen, Oregon State is really going to struggle. If you thought these guys had big games against Washington, Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney could literally run over the competition this week.
Strong second half from Stanford:
Stanford has gotten some great wins on the road this year, but have had to come back in the second half because they still are yet to have a dominating first half of play away from the Farm. Quarterback Andrew Luck definitely doesn't have good memories of his last trip there, a stunning 38-28 loss at the hands of the Beavers, though I'm sure he'll be out for a little redemption this time around.
Stanford's offensive depth:
Tight ends are essential to the Cardinal offense, though Coby Fleener was injured in the first quarter against Arizona and Levine Toilolo has missed chunks of time with injuries as well. But the reason they are No. 4 in the Nation is the fact that they have unbelievable depth and are always ready to adjust. Stanford has more than 25 different groupings for their personel, with each one coming with it's own depth chart, so yeah, I think they're prepared.
For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree.