CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A few things we learned about the Cardinal in their 38-13 win over Oregon State.
Andrew Luck can have an off day: By our standards, of course. Completing 20 of 30 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns probably doesn't seem like an off day. While at times he flashed the brilliance we've seen over past couple of years, it certainly wasn't his best performance of the season in terms of decision-making. There were some drops -- especially in the first half -- when he was just 11-of-19 for 76 yards. But this was the most inconsistent we've seen him this season. The interception was just a bad play as he was going down. He's smarter than to try and make that throw. Sometimes you need to eat the yards. He knows better.
Griff Whalen is No. 1: If he wasn't before, he is now. The wide receiver was targeted eight times by Luck and caught six balls for 87 yards -- including a 17-yard touchdown on a perfectly run route. With Chris Owusu's status up in the air following another concussion -- his second in four games -- Whalen more than likely slides into that No. 1 spot. He was also clutch on third downs, which was especially important given the absence of tight end Zach Ertz.
Better to be home: Stanford doesn't have to go on the road any more during the regular season. Good thing. They are a much different team -- especially offensively -- in the first half when they are away from The Farm. For the first time this season, the Cardinal were blanked in the opening quarter. The offense looked tight and sluggish and Luck threw his fifth interception of the season on the second offensive drive of the game. Good thing the defense are early risers.
Stanford yet to hit on all cylinders: Will it happen next week? Would be a good time with Oregon coming to town. Even though the Cardinal own the nation's longest win streak at 17 games, they are yet to play a game this season where everything is clicking on both sides of the ball. When the offense is hot, the defense generally cools off. When the defense is stout, the offense is having trouble moving the ball. This is not the time of the season you want to stagnate. It's move forward or move over. The perfect game is a myth. But it's one the Cardinal have to keep chasing if they hope to make it through next week and beyond.
When in doubt, give it to Taylor: Running back Stepfan Taylor quietly had a very good game. He rushed for 95 yards on 13 carries (average of 7.3 yards per carry) and had a 27-yard touchdown reception. When the passing game was struggling to find yards, Taylor was fighting for every inch on the ground. He's constantly referred to as one of the most underrated running backs in the Pac-12 and the country. Makes you wonder what a guy has to do to start getting rated.