Stanford Offense__Brian Cantoni

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Cantoni)
The deep ball could help open up the Cardinal’s prolific run game.

by Andrew Skaggs

One of the big question marks for Stanford football entering the 2013 season was whether a deep threat would emerge for Sophomore QB Kevin Hogan. On the fifth offensive play of Stanford’s 34-13 win over San Jose State on Saturday, that question might have been answered. Hogan hit 6’4” Junior Devon Cajuste down the left seam for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Cardinal an early 7-0 lead.

Last season Hogan completed just two passes of over 40 yards in his six starts after replacing Josh Nunes. Saturday against San Jose State, Hogan matched that total with completions of 40 and 42 yards, to Cajuste and Ty Montgomery respectively. With the way the Cardinal have established the run over the past five years, an emergence of the deep ball could add another element to an already scary-good Stanford team.

Despite throwing for just 207 yards and averaging 7.67 yards per attempt, Hogan completed five different passes of over 15 yards against the Spartans. The beneficiary of all five of these completions were the aforementioned Cajuste and Montgomery. Both these receivers stand at 6’2” or taller and flashed the ability to get behind the defense in the season’s opening game.

The Cardinal will remain a run-first football team, evidenced by their 41-to-27 run to pass ratio on Saturday, but the deep ball could be a very valuable weapon to ensure that Stanford doesn’t become one dimensional. It only takes a couple deep passes off of play-action to keep the defenses’ honest and prevent them from loading the box against the run. If Montgomery and Cajuste can continue to stretch the field on the outside, the Cardinal can be very dangerous offensively to complement their already stout defense.

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