It took a single defensive stand and a short, nine play opening touchdown drive to signal the total dominance the Stanford Cardinal had over the Rice Owls in the season opening Sydney Cup game played in Australia. With a massive defensive package and an equally threatening offense, Rice never stood a chance as Stanford made it an absolute 62-7 rout. Stanford starting quarterback Keller Chryst couldn’t have begun his college football season any better with a superb 14 pass completions from 24 attempts gaining 253 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cardinal offense racked up an amazing 656 total yards the 7th highest tally in their team’s history. For the Rice Owls the few highlights were a single touchdown from running back Austin Walter and 10 defensive tackles from linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee.
Stanford began the game in exciting fashion with an opening 62 yard bust from running back Bryce Love. Two plays later Keller connected with tight end Colby Parkinson whose height proved too much for Justin Bickham and the Cardinal had their first touchdown in under 60 seconds. The Rice response was disappointing. Their first opening offensive drive was punctuated with 2 consecutive penalties, a loss of yardage, a penalty, then a few meager rushing yards before a punt as the big Stanford defense went after Rice debutante quarterback in Sam Glaesmann.
Stanford’s next drives would see them post an incredible 38-0 lead at the half time break. Keller Chryst passed the ball cleanly and effectively. His big offensive lineman gave him plenty of protection and was rarely troubled by the Rice defense. Chryst was ably assisted by running backs Cameron Scarlett who scored 3 rushing TD’s and Bryce Love who chipped in with one. Stanford accumulated a massive 429 offensive yards in the first half. It was a super impressive start to the 2017 season for the Cardinal.
The Rice Owl offense were not able make any inroads into the Cardinal defense. Quarterback Glaesmann struggled for a miserly 60+yards for the half. He was sacked twice and eventually was benched by Owls head coach David Bailiff.
Jackson Tyner who had started for Rice last year, was brought in to replace Glaesmann. Tyner seemed a little more settled and was able to make some good passes from the short time he was on the field.
The second half saw Stanford bench Keller Cryst with coach David Shaw giving his other quarterbacks in KJ Costello and Ryan Burns some gameday plays. Burns was the more effective of the two. He scored an impressive touchdown play when he connected with Kaden Smith. Whilst Costello didn’t score a TD, he played well and emphasized the many effective offensive looks this Stanford side showed in the big victory.
Defensively, Rice linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee was the obvious standout. He had a busy day trying to counter the Stanford offense. Ellerbee made ten tackles for the game and was easily Rice’s best player in a lop sided affair. Rice were at least able to score a late consolation try when running back Austin Walker made a 23-yard touchdown run. The Sydney crowd of 33,181 roared with approval as the underdogs showed a glimpse of form.
Stanford coach David Shaw was obviously delighted with the result, especially the game played by his starting quarterback in Keller Chryst “It was great to see Keller Chryst come and be completely healthy, and be able to run the show from the quarterback position”.
Rice Owls coach David Bailiff was disappointed but was philosophical citing the Sydney game experience as extremely beneficial “We are a good football team. We didn’t play like it today. As a coach I need to go back look at the film and see what we can do better”. Both teams have a week to get themselves ready. Stanford face USC in Los Angeles on September 9, whilst the Rice Owls play UTEP in El Paso Texas also on September 9.