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What we learned: Week 9

10/27/2013

Here’s what we learned about No. 6 Stanford following the Cardinal’s 20-12 win over No. 25 Oregon State:

Defense finding its way: After Stanford lost to Utah on Oct. 21, there was reason for concern -- not just because of the result, but because of the way that game unfolded. Stanford's defense was gashed for consistent yardage for the second week in a row. Since then, the Cardinal has played like the unit it was expected to be. A week after limiting UCLA to 10 points, it held the nation's ninth-highest scoring offense (44.1 ppg) to more than 30 points under its average (12).

Gaffney is a workhorse: With the passing game in shambles, RB Tyler Gaffney was consistently effective. He showed no ill effects from his career-high 36-carry effort against UCLA a week ago in running for 145 yards on 22 carries. The only other running back to get a carry was Barry Sanders, who had one.

All eyes on Oregon: It was circled when the schedule was released, but now the Cardinal can put its full attention on the Ducks. Stanford, which was No. 6 in the first BCS standings, remains in the national title picture and can only stay there with a win against Oregon. The Ducks have yet to play a close game this season and are 24-1 in their last

25 games with the lone loss in that span to Stanford.