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Stanford Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Oregon Game

Jeff BellCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2016

Stanford Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Oregon Game

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    The Stanford football team notched one of the biggest wins in program history this past Saturday, beating the Oregon Ducks 17-14.

    The Cardinal managed to do what no other team has even come close to doing this season: slow down the Ducks.

    Oregon was held more than 40 points below their average, and running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas combined for just 109 yards rushing on 28 carries.

    For Stanford, the win gives them a chance at the Pac-12 championship. They need to beat UCLA next weekend or hope the Ducks lose to the Oregon State Beavers, and they're in.

    For a program that many thought would fall back after the Andrew Luck era, the win proved that the Cardinal are here to stay.

    Here are grades for all 22 players who started the game against Oregon, including a grade for the special teams unit. Note that some players, like those along the offensive line, have been grouped together.

Quarterback: Kevin Hogan (A+)

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    When you complete 25-of-36 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown, you probably didn't play your best game.

    But when you consider that Kevin Hogan was a freshman starting his first game, and that he led his team on a late fourth-quarter drive that tied the game, you have to admire what he accomplished.

    Hogan also added a rushing touchdown and escaped pressure multiple times on the Cardinal's first touchdown drive. He'll have better performances in his career, but not many wins will be bigger than this one.

Running Back: Stepfan Taylor (A-)

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    Stepfan Taylor had 33 carries for 161 yards and was consistent throughout the game.

    He had a number of runs where he gained more yardage after contact than before it. His grade falls just a bit for his fumble in the second half.

Fullback: Ryan Hewitt (B+)

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    Ryan Hewitt represents everything Stanford is about. He exudes toughness every time he steps on the field.

    He didn't have eye-popping stats, but he took on linebackers in the running game, which opened up big holes for Taylor. He also added two grabs, including one that resulted in a key first down in the first quarter.

Tight End: Zach Ertz (A+)

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    Zach Ertz was the most consistent receiving option for Kevin Hogan against the Ducks.

    Ertz tallied 11 catches for 106 yards, including the game-tying touchdown. He'll be coming soon to an NFL team near you.

Wide Receiver: Jamal-Rashad Patterson (D)

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    Jamal-Rashad Patterson had a forgettable game, grabbing just one pass for one yard.

    In an offense that was limited to just 14 points, a bigger game from Patterson would have been welcome. Fortunately, the Cardinal D hung tough and the point total was enough.

Wide Receiver: Drew Terrell (C-)

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    Drew Terrell was another Cardinal receiver with little impact on the game.

    Terrell had two catches for just 24 yards, and it's clear that the tight ends are Stanford's biggest weapons in the passing game.

Offensive Line (B)

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    The offensive line is filled with future NFL starters, and they had a strong performance on Saturday.

    They paved the way for the Cardinal to rush for 200 yards, though 37 came on scrambles by Hogan.

    The men that led the way:

    - Right tackle Cameron Fleming

    - Right guard Kevin Danser

    - Center Sam Schwartzstein

    - Left guard Khalil Wilkes

    - Left tackle David Yankey

Defensive Tackle: Terrence Stephens (B-)

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    Terrence Stephens was in on just one tackle Saturday against the Ducks.

    But he was also part of a defensive line that lived in Oregon's backfield, thus giving him an above-average grade.

Defensive End: Henry Anderson (A)

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    Henry Anderson was a wrecking ball on Stanford's defensive line this past Saturday.

    Anderson tallied six tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, and he had a huge third-down stop in the backfield that forced the Ducks into a 4th-and-4, which they failed to convert.

Defensive End: Ben Gardner (B)

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    That's the face of a very happy Ben Gardner, who had a relatively quiet game.

    Gardner made two tackles, including one for a loss, but he spent most of the night plugging up the running lanes, which led to a number of plays for no gain by the Oregon offense.

Outside Linebacker: Trent Murphy (A-)

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    Trent Murphy has really made a name for himself this season, and he had another effective performance against the Ducks.

    Murphy totaled just three tackles, but one of those was a sack that resulted in a six-yard loss for Oregon.

Outside Linebacker: Chase Thomas (B-)

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    Chase Thomas was part of the Stanford team that gave up 53 points to the Ducks last year, and many analysts pointed to the lack of speed on the Cardinal defense as a major reason.

    Thomas had another pretty quiet game this time around with just three tackles, but he was nonetheless part of a unit that beat Oregon to the edge and held the running game in check throughout the night.

Inside Linebacker: A.J. Tarpley (A)

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    A.J. Tarpley had his name called out time and time again Saturday evening.

    He notched five tackles throughout the game, including one for a loss, and he picked off Marcus Mariota at the end of the first half.

Inside Linebacker: Shayne Skov (A+)

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    Shayne Skov missed the game against Oregon last season, and he was the difference this time around.

    Skov tallied 10 tackles on the night, and his combination of size and speed stymied the Ducks' offense over and over again. He too will be coming to an NFL team near you.

Cornerback: Terrence Brown (B+)

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    Aside from a dumb personal foul in the first half, Terrence Brown had a great game for the Cardinal secondary.

    He was quick to the ball and held Josh Huff in check for most of the night. He notched five tackles.

Cornerback: Alex Carter (A+)

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    I came away from this game more impressed with Alex Carter than perhaps any other player on Stanford's defense. And he's a freshman!

    Carter, who was all over the field on Saturday, made six tackles, two of which were for a loss. His speed was a real difference-maker throughout the night.

Strong Safety: Jordan Richards (B)

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    Jordan Richards earns a B grade for his performance against Oregon.

    Richards had four tackles during the game and played a key role in the Stanford secondary, which held Mariota to just over 200 yards passing and a completion rate under 60 percent.

Free Safety: Ed Reynolds (A)

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    Ed Reynolds was another player who had his name called out time and time again on Saturday night.

    He was literally all over the field in making six tackles. He stayed disciplined and was another major reason why Stanford was able to hold Oregon in check.

Special Teams (A)

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    Despite Jordan Williamson's missed field goal, the special teams earns an A for their masterful performance on Saturday.

    Williamson made up for the miss by nailing the game-winner in overtime, and punter Daniel Zychlinski averaged over 45 yards per punt, including five inside the 20-yard line.

    Field position became hugely important, as the Cardinal also limited Oregon on kickoff returns, ultimately forcing the Ducks to consistently have to go the length of the field in order to score.

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