By John Harris
November 8, 2012
Outside of the Texas A&M-Alabama game, this matchup on the West Coast carries the most intrigue and is, essentially, an elimination game for the Pac-12 North title. The Beavers take on Cal and #3 Oregon after this trip, both in Corvallis, while Stanford goes to both Oregon and #18 UCLA in successive weeks after Oregon State's visit. I say that to set up the enormity of this game for both teams. A loss and there's no way either team can rebound and win the Pac-12 North.
And, as you'd expect in a match up this important, the spotlight will be on…two back up quarterbacks?? Yep, backups. Now, neither Kevin Hogan nor Cody Vaz were starters to begin the year, but both have earned the responsibility of being each team's starting signal caller. Hogan relieved Josh Nunes against Colorado and through his play, Hogan earned the start for this week's game vs. the Beavers, while Vaz has taken the reins for the Beavers, seemingly for good, after being inserted for an injured Sean Mannion.
That all said, the quarterback play could lend itself to a ton of mistakes against extremely physical and aggressive defenses. However, in the end, the team that ends up running the ball most effectively will win this one. These two programs have defenses ranked in the top five in rushing defense (Stanford #1 and Oregon State #5), so the sledding will be rough.
If you're expecting an Oregon-USC 62-51 battle, forget it, this will be the most physical game this side of Tuscaloosa. As such, at home where the Cardinal is undefeated this season, Stanford will ride the powerful legs of RB Stepfan Taylor to 85+ yards and a touchdown in a Cardinal win.
Stanford - 19 vs. Oregon State - 15