3-for-3: Red zone conversion against Army
One of the biggest differences between Stanford’s performance last week in the 13-10 home defeat against USC and in the Cardinal’s 35-0 rout of Army this week was the red zone efficiency stat. After a woeful one touchdown and one field goal against the Trojans in five red zone chances, the Cardinal cashed in for seven points on each of their three red zone trips against the Black Knights.
A huge part of that change was due to the efforts of senior Devon Cajuste, who made two tremendous catches for touchdowns on two third-and-goal opportunities. In particular, Cajuste’s highlight-worthy catch on third-and-goal from the 15-yard line helped save a drive that appeared to be headed for a field goal attempt.
9: Passing yards allowed by the Stanford defense against Army
While Army’s triple-option system relies heavily on the running game and simultaneously de-emphasizing the passing game, Stanford’s defensive performance, particularly in the secondary, was spectacular against the Black Knights. While Army managed more than 17 yards per passing attempt with a 100 percent completion percentage in its opening win against Buffalo, Army quarterbacks Angel Santiago and A.J. Schurr combined for fewer than five yards per passing attempt along with an interception against the Cardinal.
Furthermore, when Santiago and Schurr tried to pass on a few third-and-long situations, they were often forced to tuck it and run, as Stanford’s back four simply stifled playmakers Edgar Poe and Raymond Maples. Poe and Maples, who combined for 98 receiving yards against Buffalo, only managed a single combined reception for 10 yards against the Card. Finally, Alex Carter’s forced fumble against West Point, coupled with Dallas Lloyd’s standout tackle of Schurr for a loss on fourth-and-goal at the Stanford 2-yard line, capped an outstanding day for the Stanford secondary, as well as the entire defense.
8:55: Time of possession for a third quarter Army drive that resulted in zero points for the Black Knights
Although the Cardinal were fairly dominant throughout Saturday’s contest against Army, two drives in the third quarter helped Stanford ice the game. In particular, on the first drive in question, the Black Knights took nearly nine minutes off the clock without putting any points on the board. While Army’s heavy emphasis on running the football will inherently chew up clock, West Point’s failure to come away with anything on its opening drive of the second half, which consumed nearly 60 percent of the third quarter, was particularly demoralizing.
With a longest play of 10 yards on that drive, the Black Knights were able to gradually move the ball down the field, eventually setting up a fourth-and-3 at the Stanford 33-yard line. However, a crushing false start penalty on wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence took the Army offense off the field, and Army was forced to punt. While Army was able to pin Stanford on its own 2-yard line on a fantastic punt from Alex Tardieu, the Cardinal subsequently marched 98 yards down the field to make it 21-0, finishing off the Black Knights once and for all.
705: Passing yards for senior quarterback Kevin Hogan in his first three games
While Kevin Hogan has had his moments of inconsistency in all three of his contests to start the 2014 season, Hogan has nevertheless aired it out more this season. While Hogan had only six games last year in which he passed for more than 200 yards, Hogan has eclipsed the 200-yard mark in every game so far this season, including a 285-yard performance against USC. Furthermore, Hogan has seven touchdown passes to go along with only one interception.
However, on the other hand, Hogan missed high on several throws on Saturday against the Black Knights, including a horrible overthrow of Jordan Pratt on third-and-7 at the Army 45-yard line, which would have been an easy first down. In addition, Hogan has also been noticeably shut down on the ground; on 20 attempts this season, he has a measly 34 yards rushing, with only one rushing touchdown. The Cardinal will likely need Hogan to be more productive with his feet as Stanford enters the heart of its conference schedule in a few weeks.
Contact David Cohn at [email protected].