After a heart-wrenching loss to USC, Stanford needed a morale booster. The Army Black Knights certainly provided that. Despite weak play from the offense in the first half, the defense locked down the Black Knight’s triple option attack, holding them to 207 total yards, 198 of which were on the ground. Stanford punted on four of its first six possessions, a troubling sign for a team that should have physically overwhelmed Army.
Kevin Hogan struggled in the first half, missing several open receivers. The overall numbers in the first half, 12 of 19 passes for two touchdowns, doesn’t seem to be too troubling. However, missing targets against an Army secondary that surrendered 401 yards through the air to a weak Buffalo team is a cause for concern. Hogan tightened it up in the second half, making his final line 20 for 28, with 216 yards and four touchdowns.
Devon Cajuste man-handled the Army secondary, hauling in three touchdown passes from Kevin Hogan. His 23 yard-touchdown capped a 65-yard drive on the opening drive of the game, giving Stanford the early 7-0 lead. No one was in the vicinity of Cajuste, scoring easily on a corner route on a pass from Hogan. Stanford’s offense scuffled after this first drive, crossing midfield only twice on their next four drives. After Alex Carter forced running back Larry Dixon to fumble, linebacker Kevin Anderson recovered it at the Army 15 yard line. Stanford now had a golden opportunity to score with a minute and a half left in the half. Hogan and the offense worked down to the two yard line. On third and goal from the two, Hogan threw a jump ball to Cajuste in the back right corner of the end zone, and Cajuste hauled it in to extend Stanford’s halftime lead to 14-0.
Stanford’s defense had no problems with Army’s unconventional triple option offense, only allowing them to cross midfield three times in nine drives before the starters gave way to the backups in the fourth. Holding Army to nine passing yards may seem impressive, but the Black Knight offense is built to run, and scarcely passes. Army only threw five passes, completing three and throwing one interception. A.J. Tarpley picked off backup quarterback A.J. Shurr early in the fourth quarter, ending an Army drive that had reached the Stanford 42 yard line. Stanford’s defense has now allowed fewer than 30 points in 26 straight games, dating back to a 54-48 overtime shootout win over Arizona in 2012.
Notes: Stanford will have a bye next Saturday, and take on Washington on September 27th at a time to be determined. The Cardinal moved to 8-0 under coach David Shaw following a loss, and hasn’t lost consecutive games since 2009, Andrew Luck’s first season starting for the Cardinal. Running back Remound Wright did not play Saturday because of a foot injury.
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