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Breaking Down the Stanford Cardinal

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Stanford Cardinal @ Arizona St. Sun Devils

September 6, 2008

7:00 PM Pacific

News flash: Stanford is #1 in the Pac-10!

Okay, so it's only the first week of the season.

But after beating Oregon State 36-28 in exciting fashion last Thursday night, the Cardinal find themselves tied with Oregon for the conference lead.

Multiple players stepped up huge against the Beavers, including RB Toby Gerhart. Gerhart gained 147 yards on 19 carries for two touchdowns, including a 46-yard run down the sideline. His impressive speed gave him opportunities to break free, as he seems capable of eluding would-be tacklers.

Gerhart will only be able to run if Tavita Pritchard can establish a reliable passing game. Against OSU, Pritchard was 10/17 for 91 yards and a touchdown.

In total, Stanford ran the ball 48 times, while throwing 17 times for a total of 301 offensive yards.

Two interceptions for 50 yards (one touchdown), a safety, and a fumble recovery all aided in the Stanford victory.

Tempering the importance of this victory was the absence of Oregon State QB Sean Canfield. He was out with a shoulder injury that forced backup QB Lye Moevao into action against Stanford.

Moevao's numbers? 34/54, 404 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. They stand out as decent but unremarkable considering the sheer amount of passing plays called.

We can't blame Lyle Moevao, though. Stanford looked tough out there on the gridiron, and that is something we haven't been able to say for years. Jim Harbaugh has his team fired up and anticipating greatness, rather than just losing to it.

Stanford Strengths:
Toby Gerhart; Hands in the secondary; Reinvigorated attitude

Cardinal Sins: Iffy passing game; Kicker who is only 10/16 on his career on FG attempts (Aaron Zagory)