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Stanford vs. Arizona: Cardinal struggling to adjust without Andrew Luck

The Stanford Cardinal hopes to get the offense flowing with Josh Nunes improving as a quarterback and adjust to life without Andrew Luck.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Stanford Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes has predictably suffered as the first quarterback to replace Andrew Luck in Palo Alto. Nunes has missed plenty of passes and defenses don't seem to respect his ability to beat them with his arm. There have been calls to replace Nunes with Brett Nottingham to see if he can do any better, but for now head coach David Shaw appears to be comfortable in sticking with his starter.

Obviously, a lot of the issues stem from Luck's departure; no replacement could really hope to replicate what Luck did., But it's clear that the learning curve has been quite steep for Nunes, who has struggled to get the offense going right in his first few games.

One writer at Rule of Tree examined how several teams have adjusted to losing their starting quarterbacks to the NFL, like Robert Griffin III at Baylor and Kirk Cousins at Michigan State.

If you compare Stanford, Boise State and Michigan State, the troubles look remarkably similar. Stanford’s game without an offensive touchdown looks positively balmy to Boise State, which has submitted such games on two separate occasions (@ Michigan State, vs. BYU). Michigan State has only been able to get over 20 points against non-BCS opponents; against BCS conference opponents (plus Notre Dame), their point totals read 17, 3, 16. In fact, in terms of points averaged, Stanford’s on the top of the heap of these three teams.

On the other hand, Stanford’s 5.02 yards per play is lowest of the three, behind Michigan State’s 5.13 yards per play and Boise’s 5.98 yards per play. (On the third hand, Stanford’s played the hardest schedule – according to Sagarin, Stanford’s had the 13th-hardest strength of schedule; Michigan State’s got the 27th; Boise’s got the 46th.)

Indeed, Stanford's offense has a lot of work to do to regain full tilt.