Congratulations to Kevin Marcelli, from Daly City, California, the winner of last week’s Stanford Daily Football Predictions Challenge, presented by Chef Chu’s.
No. 24 Stanford (8-3, 6-3 Pac-12) vs. Rice (3-8, 2-6 C-USA)
Vihan Lakshman: Stanford 48, Rice 21
I’ve remained skeptical of the Stanford offense throughout the Cardinal’s four-game winning streak, but I’ve got to give credit where it’s due. In the past three weeks, the Cardinal have twice eclipsed the 40-point plateau while putting up both the second and third most rushing yards in a game during the David Shaw era. That’s dominance. The caliber of defenses in the last month may not compare to what Stanford saw in the first half of the season, but there’s no doubt that an angry, much-improved offensive line and a fully healthy Christian McCaffrey have come together like a match and methane for some truly explosive results. With the Cardinal facing yet another bottom-10 defense in Rice, look for the Cardinal to establish the run early and often and continue their recent scoring barrage. Keller Chryst, who takes another step forward in his fifth week as a starter, opens the floodgates with a deep shot to Michael Rector while Dallas Lloyd records a pick-six. But when it’s all said and done, the night will belong to McCaffrey, as No. 5 runs circles around the Owls to set the school record for career all-purpose yards in what might be his final home game in a Stanford uniform.
Tristan Vanech: Stanford 59, Rice 24
After Rice starting quarterback Tyler Stehling injured his knee at the beginning of last week’s game, the Owls seemed to emerge with his name written on their chests. Backup Jackson Tyner went 18-of-26 passing for just under 200 yards with two touchdown passes and a long touchdown grab to lead his team to a resounding 44-24 victory. The only catch (pun intended): It was against an equally bad UTEP. The Houstonians may be on a two-game clip, but Stanford’s recent success has been twice as impressive. With Chryst looking as polished as ever and Christian McCaffrey still being Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal hammer in a first-half scoring line comparable to that of the win at Oregon a few weeks ago, while not allowing more than a couple non-garbage-time Rice drives to reach the end zone. Shaw pulls several starters at the end of the third quarter, Bryce Love notches two runs of 40+ yards and Ryan Burns connects with Isaiah Brandt-Sims for his first career touchdown as Stanford steamrolls Rice in this regular season finale.
Andrew Mather: Stanford 49, Rice 10
It’s not that pretty, but the only question that needs to be answered in this one is how much Stanford wants to win by. When you take into account the quality of competition, Rice very well may be the lowest-rated defense in the country, and unless we see some 2007 USC-Stanford-level magic, this game will be decided by halftime. Still, this contest gives the Cardinal a chance to get an easy win on the final week of their regular season while Rice takes a trip to the Golden State and makes a few TV dollars. The college football world goes on.
Have your own predictions? Submit them in this week’s Stanford Daily Football Predictions Challenge for a chance to win a $50 Chef Chu’s gift card and be featured in the next football predictions article: