For the Stanford offense, the two-minute drill has been a bright spot this year, providing some semblances of life amidst a tough year.
Unfortunately for the Cardinal, the two-minute drill would not save the day this time around.
On Stanford’s penultimate drive, senior quarterback Ryan Burns threw an interception with 1:37 remaining. After a Colorado safety, Stanford was unsuccessful in its final play, and the Cardinal (4-3, 3-2 Pac-12) fell to the Buffaloes (6-2, 4-1) by a 10-5 margin.
Neither offense looked particularly convincing, but Colorado’s lone touchdown, a 15-yard pass from Sefo Liufau to Shay Fields, would make all the difference in the game. Colorado had many chances to put Stanford away long before the end, as it had five drives that ended inside of the Stanford 25, but could only come up with 10 points.
But for as much as Stanford’s defense was able to keep the Cardinal in the game with its big stops, Stanford’s offense simply could not get anything going. The Cardinal had just 263 yards of total offense and had 4 total turnovers. It seemed that whenever Stanford began to gain momentum it would escape them as quickly as it arrived, such as when the Cardinal had the ball at Colorado’s 6-yard line before fumbling it away on a botched snap.
Special teams were a big story in the game, which was as much a function of the two abysmal offensive performances as much as anything else. For the field goal units, Stanford’s Conrad Ukropina contributed the Cardinal’s lone offensive points of the day on a 26-yard attempt. Meanwhile, despite using two different kickers, Colorado missed all three of its attempts, something that kept Stanford in the game for much longer than it probably should have.
The punting units shined for both teams, as Stanford’s Jake Bailey and Colorado’s Alex Kinney punted for highs of 61 and 59 yards, respectively. The two punters combined for 10 total punts, and the game largely became a field position battle as more time progressed without points being put on the board.
Junior running back Christian McCaffrey returned after missing the Notre Dame game last week, but had little impact, with just 114 all purpose yards. Junior cornerback Alijah Holder also returned to action, but another injury took him out of the game prematurely and he did not return.
Stanford has now lost three of its last four games. The Cardinal will look to right the ship as they head to Tucson next weekend to take on the Arizona Wildcats.
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.