Coming into Saturday night’s game I thought Stanford was the better football team. Just by eyeballing the two teams I thought Stanford was a little bit better. Saturday night they showed they were a whole lot better than Arizona.
Although they were better in every facet of the game, where the Cardinal showed they were truly superior was on both lines. Andrew Luck had all night to throw, while Nick Foles was frequently harried.
Don’t get me wrong, the Cardinal were better on Saturday night at nearly every spot, but it was the lines that jumpstarted everything else.
Andrew Luck was good, but there were a lot of people who could have done what he did with the time the offensive line gave him. I still think Luck is the best passing qurterback in the nation, but all he had to do was deliver the ball on Saturday. Only a couple of his throws really saw him doing something special. The rest of the time the line gave him enough time to wait for his receivers t get open.
And they were open. The Arizona defensive backs were exposed on Saturday night. I’ve been saying for some time that the UA DBs cannot hang with fast receivers and that was the case again against the Trees. Not only were they faster, they were smarter. The Wildcat defensive backs played an awful, and frankly, stupid game. They repeatedly made mental error after mental error. I saw DBs fall for fakes, over and over, open the wrong way and totally misread a route. One young players had a receiver run a comeback route to the inside and the Wildcat player opened to the sideline and headed up-field.
It wasn’t just the defensive backs. The front seven got blown off the ball all night long. Rarely were the defensive ends able to put pressure on Luck and although the run game took awhile to get started, once it did, the Cats had no answer.
As well, the defense did not tackle well. They failed to deliver big hits or wrap up. They also took awful pursuit angles all night long.
Offensively the Cats were not much better. Nick Foles looked rusty, but he was not aided by his receivers, who dropped at least six passes on the night. The line had their issues, really struggling against the Stanford 3-4 and letting the Cardinal put a lot of pressure on Foles. Both tackles struggled with outside pass rushers and the running backs struggled to pick-up some blitzes.
The Wildcats left a lot of points into the redzone, twice going for it on fourth down, Foles throwing a terrible interception and an intentional grounding call that took them out of field goal range (though it should have been defensive offsides).
Even with all of that, and injuries to Nic Grigsby, Juron Criner and Greg Nwoko, the Wildcats put up over 480 yards of total offense and had seven trips into the Stanford side of the field.
So what does this mean? Is the season lost? Probably not. While the defensive backfield is a weakness, the team can still put things together. Beating Oregon is doubtful, but they still look like a better team than USC and ASU.