Stanford vs. Arizona Post-game Reaction

Stanford finally overpowered Arizona in a 37-10 victory. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns, showing he why he is the best quarterback in the country. In total, the offense put up 567 yards of offense and wore down Arizona’s defense. They once again got stronger as the game went on.

  1. Close Starts: Just as Stanford was not able to completely blow out Duke before going into the half, Arizona was giving Stanford fits early on. They struggled to convert third downs on offense and also had some missed opportunities to score touchdowns in the red zone. The Wildcats limited Stanford to field goals and kept themselves in the game. After a significant injury to linebacker Shayne Skov, Nick Foles hit every pass on a drive that got Arizona within three points of Stanford. But after missing a field goal going into half time, Arizona was not able to score again.

  2. *Emotional Defense: ***After losing Skov, the Cardinal defense was on its back heels as Foles attacked the middle of the field and had great success. Fellow linebacker Chase Thomas put a big number 11 on his forearm to show he was going to be playing for his injured teammate. The entire defense stepped up. They limited Foles for the rest of the game. Though they still gave up some big plays, they held firm and kept the Wildcats out of the endzone. As a team, the Stanford defense collected five sacks. They drove Arizona backwards and killed any offensive drives with plays in the backfield.

  3. Tight Ends Step Up: Skov was not the only big player to get injured in the game. Tight end Colby Fleener also had to be taken out of the game after a nasty hit to his head and a possible risk of a concussion. In his absence, juniors Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz made big targets for Luck. Stanford utilized their tight ends to come out in run heavy formations and then run effective play actions passes. Toilolo was able to make two huge catches, including one for a touchdown, because he could run freely past defenders as they had to commit to stopping the run.Though losing Fleener took out one of Luck’s favorite targets, Ertz and Toilolo both managed to fill in nicely.

  4. Arizona Implodes: Arizona struggled to turn drives into points because they did not have a reliable kicking game. They missed a field goal coming into the half and then missed another field goal to start the third quarter. The Wildcats could have potentially had a 16-16 tie with Stanford early in the second half if they made both field goals. They also had an offside penalty on a fourth and three punt. Stanford cashed in on the penalty and scored a touchdown. Arizona had some opportunities to take control of the game but they could not capitalize. As the pass rush really started to pressure Foles, he was knocked out of his rhythm. They managed to gain yards but they could not sustain anything that would yield in a touchdown.

  5. Stanford’s Methodical Approach: Stanford did not do anything particularly flashy in the game. They had success because they running game was so effective. Arizona did a good job in the first half of limiting the rushing attack and so the Stanford offense was not as effective as it could have been. But as the Cardinal kept pounding the ball over and over again, getting only a few yards at a time and then eventually breaking off some big runs, the Arizona defense opened up. Luck loves to play in this offense because success in the running game leads to success on play action passes. Running back Stepfan Taylor and the rest of Stanford’s rushing attack alleviated many struggles on offense.

As an overall team grade, Stanford was extraordinarily solid. They wore down Arizona and got stronger as they game went on. This team has showed it can play well into the second half, something they struggled with last year. Stanford had some moments of weakness but they overcame them for the second straight week to put up another solid victory. Stanford has a bye week next week and will face UCLA in Stanford Stadium on October 1.

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