The Stanford Cardinal are known for Andrew Luck and their pass-happy offense. The recognition is rightfully deserved, but ultimately that is only one side of the ball: this season is beginning to prove that the team is a formidable defensive unit, too. According to an ESPN report, Stanford leads the Pac-12 in both total defense and scoring defense.
The Cardinal rank 26th in the country in total defense, just a shade outside of the top 25 but still tops of the Pac-12. The Cal Golden Bears come in one position lower at 27th in the country, while two-thirds of the conference ranks 50th or worse.
Stanford begins to really set itself apart in scoring defense. The Cardinal rank sixth in the country in points allowed, well above the Utah Utes at 25th and every other Pac-12 team. Defense has been a low point for the conference this season as three-fourths of the Pac-12 has given up more than 24 points per game.
Stanford's defense has been a pleasant surprise this year and will serve as a major strength as the team pursues a national title. If the Cardinal defense can keep up their strong early showing, Luck and the offense will have an easier task ahead of them as they face strong opponents such as USC and Oregon later in the year.