September 16, 2017
No. 19 Stanford (1-1) at San Diego State (2-0)
Sam Curry: Stanford 28, San Diego State 17
San Diego State has been one of the best teams in the Mountain West for a few years now, and this year appears to be no different. The Cardinal will without a doubt have to earn this win, but I can’t see San Diego State handing Stanford its second loss straight. The Aztecs rushing attack is certainly a formidable threat, but their passing attack is not, and the fact that Stanford will be able to key in on running back Rashaad Penny should slow down the Aztecs considerably. Offensively, I think Stanford’s passing game will be just effective enough to keep San Diego State’s defense honest and allow Bryce Love to tear it up on the ground. If the Cardinal play at all the way they are capable of playing on Saturday, they should capture a somewhat comfortable victory.
Laura Anderson: Stanford 24, San Diego State 17
The Cardinal know that this game is a must-win in order to rebound from their loss last Saturday. Against USC, Stanford’s offensive line was outplayed, especially after the Trojans adjusted to devote everything to stopping junior running back Bryce Love and the run game, which burned them during the first half. Under pressure and stacking up against USC’s Sam Darnold, quarterback Keller Chryst struggled to show enough of a passing attack to keep the Trojans honest. However, San Diego State’s Christian Chapman is not a Darnold-caliber quarterback and the Aztec defense is not as strong. I see the Aztecs stacking the box as USC did in the second half in an attempt to shut down Love. With opportunities in the air, Chryst must deliver and be a leader on offense in the game. Stanford may opt for a similar strategy to San Diego State on defense — senior running back Rashaad Penny is the Aztecs’ best player, averaging 206.5 rushing yards per game, so the Cardinal must control the rush and force San Diego State to pass the ball. Between Chryst and Chapman, I think Chryst will be stronger at utilizing Cardinal options at tight end and the threat of Bryce Love to lead Stanford to the win.
Jose Saldana: Stanford 31, San Diego State 21
I know the Cardinal defense was torn to shreds by the USC run game and that the Aztecs have an amazing running back in Rashaad Penny, but Stanford will pile on the defenders to stop the run. If the Aztecs are forced to pass, then the excellent Stanford secondary can make plays whereas against the Trojans there weren’t as many opportunities. The Aztecs defense can cause a ton of havoc with turnovers and pressures on the quarterback but Stanford hasn’t turned the ball in six consecutive games dating back to last season. Stanford should win the turnover margin and Bryce Love should drop another 100 or more rushing yards to get the win. Love will have more opportunities to explode even if the Aztecs focus on stopping the run. Obviously, if the defense can’t stop Penny in the run game or on kick returns or if the offense finally turns the ball over, then the tide of the game will shift in favor of the Aztecs. The Cardinal shouldn’t overlook a team like the Aztecs. They can’t afford to.