Stanford fell from the Associated Press Top 25 rankings on Sunday for the first time since 2010, snapping a school-record streak of 72 consecutive weeks ranked in the poll. But the Cardinal (4-3 overall, 2-2 Pac-12 Conference) has bigger concerns heading into its final five regular season games.
The good news is that Stanford has five games to turn things around and still controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 North Division. If the Cardinal can win out, a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 5 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara is still in play.
In Saturday night's disappointing 26-10 loss to Arizona State, Stanford's offense mustered only 69 first-half yards against a rebuilt Sun Devils defense that had to replace nine starters from 2013.
Stanford never established the run, finishing with 76 yards on the ground, which included a career-long 31-yard run by senior quarterback Kevin Hogan.
Arizona State ran 80 plays to only 61 by the Cardinal; possessed nearly a 10-minute time of possession advantage; and registered 23 first downs compared to 14 by Stanford.
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While the over-worked Stanford defense allowed 26 points to Arizona State, 10 were the result of two special teams turnovers -- a muffed punt and a fumble on a kickoff return, setting up the Sun Devils deep in Stanford territory.
The Cardinal now ranks No. 2 in the country in scoring defense (12.3) and total defense (254.6), and 12th against the run (101.9).
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Senior OLB Kevin Anderson from Palo Alto High had a big game for Stanford. He recorded a game- and career-high 10 tackles, including four tackles for loss and a sack. Junior ILB Blake Martinez added nine tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack. Senior James Vaughters, fifth-year senior Henry Anderson, fifth-year senior A.J. Tarpley and senior Jordan Richards all contributed eight tackles.
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As well as the Stanford defense has performed this year, it has not been opportunistic. The unit failed to produce a turnover against Arizona State and has only five interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season. As a result, the Cardinal is tied for 109th in the nation in turnover margin at minus-6.
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This Saturday, Stanford plays host to Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. (PT) on Reunion Weekend. The Beavers (4-2) lost to Utah in double-overtime on Thursday night, 29-23. The Cardinal and Oregon State have played one common opponent -- USC. Both teams lost to the Trojans, Stanford falling to 13-10 and the Beavers losing 35-10.
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Extra Points . . . Stanford is 0-3 against ranked opponents this season and managed only 34 points in those contests . . . The Cardinal defense allowed fewer than 30 points for the 30th time in as many games, the longest streak in the nation . . . Freshmen DT Harrison Phillips and long snapper C.J. Keller made their college debuts for the Cardinal. Phillips produced a sack and Keller short-snapped in the third-quarter field goal . . . Stanford extended its streak of scoring a rushing touchdown to 29 straight games, tied with Navy for the nation's second-longest mark . . . Senior WR Ty Montgomery finished with 125 all-purpose yards, the 11th time in the past 12 games he has accomplished the feat.