Instant recap: Solid defense and big plays from McCaffrey seal Stanford win over Kansas State

Sept. 2, 2016, 9:35 p.m.

Stanford went back to playing the style of football that has worked for them throughout the David Shaw era. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

The No. 8 Cardinal (1-0) pulled out a 26-13 win over the Kansas State Wildcats (0-1), holding off a pesky fourth-quarter comeback to win their season opener.

The defense came up with two interceptions (courtesy of fifth-year senior Dallas Lloyd and sophomore Quenton Meeks), a clutch fourth-quarter safety and a number of big red zone stops. Although the Kansas State offense found the end zone with 2:20 remaining in the fourth-quarter, it would ultimately be too little too late after a failed onside kick.

The advertised depth of the Cardinal defense did not disappoint. A number of second and third string players came up big for Stanford, including fifth-year senior Jordan Watkins, who had the sack that resulted in the safety. As a whole, the Cardinal defense had 8 sacks.

On the offensive end, Stanford didn’t quite have the brilliance it showed last year, but some early scores, as well as one very late one, gave them all they needed. First-time starting quarterback Ryan Burns was excellent in his first half, as the senior completed all of his passes before the half, including a 40-yard touchdown to fifth-year senior Michael Rector. Burns finished with 156 yards and 1 touchdown.

And while Christian McCaffrey wasn’t completely invincible, the junior running back had his share of moments. McCaffrey ended up with 210 all-purpose yards and two scores, coming from a 35-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and a 41-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth. While the Wildcats’ defense was able to keep him contained in the period in between, the few bursts made the difference for Stanford on the offensive end.

But the win might be overshadowed by the questions that remain for the Cardinal. With an injury of unknown severity to Phillips, as well as an offense that was shaky for most of the second half, the Cardinal have plenty to figure out during its bye week before it hosts USC in two weeks.


Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’

Sandip Srinivas '18 is the Football Editor, a sports desk editor and a beat writer for men's basketball and football at The Stanford Daily. Sandip is a sophomore from Belmont, California that roots for the San Francisco Giants during even years and roots for Steph Curry year-round. He is majoring in Symbolic Systems and can be contacted via email at sandips 'at'

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