A slow start for of­fense, not de­fense

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTINGGREEN - By Tom Fitz Ger­ald

With­out in­jured Bryce Love, the Stan­ford of­fense op­er­ated in fits and starts Satur­day. No mat­ter, the de­fense was as stingy as usual.

Af­ter a slow start, K.J. Costello threw a pair of touch­down passes to JJ Arcega-White­side for the No. 9 Car­di­nal, and the only touch­down the de­fense al­lowed came on the fi­nal play.

So the 30-10 vic­tory over UC Davis at Stan­ford Sta­dium may not thrill the poll voters, but Stan­ford can’t com­plain.

“It wasn’t per­fect, but we played well,” head coach David Shaw said. “I told the team we’re not go­ing to act like we lost be­cause we didn’t win by as much as we wanted to. We’re go­ing to act like we won.”

The Car­di­nal ran their record to 3-0 go­ing into next week’s big Pac-12 North game at Ore­gon. Love is ex­pected to be back for the trip.

Costello com­pleted 17 of 30 passes for 214 yards be­fore giv­ing way to red­shirt fresh­man Davis Mills in the fourth quar­ter. Jack Richard­son and fresh­man Jack West also got their turns in the late stages.

Although Costello threw sev­eral passes too high in the first quar­ter, he re­cov­ered.

“I never worry about him,” Shaw said. “He’s un­shak­able. He missed a cou­ple throws, made a

Love is ex­pected to be back for the trip.

Costello com­pleted 17 of 30 passes for 214 yards be­fore giv­ing way to red­shirt fresh­man Davis Mills in the fourth quar­ter. Jack Richard­son and fresh­man Jack West also got their turns in the late stages.

Although Costello threw sev­eral passes too high in the first quar­ter, he re­cov­ered.

“I never worry about him,” Shaw said. “He’s un­shak­able. He missed a cou­ple throws, made a cou­ple bad de­ci­sions. He comes back, still bounc­ing on his toes, and says, ‘OK, Coach, what do you want to call next?’ ”

In a game that started at 11 a.m., the ear­li­est start­ing time for a home game in pro­gram his­tory, Stan­ford fell be­hind 3-0 early and had just 74 yards of to­tal of­fense in the first quar­ter.

Then Costello found Arcega-White­side, who walled off cor­ner­back Vin­cent White in the end zone with his body for a 9-yard score.

Jet Toner added the first of his three field goals later in the quar­ter, and Costello hit Arce­gaWhite­side for an 8-yard touch­down in the fi­nal min­utes of the half.

UC Davis dou­bleteamed Arcega-White­side of­ten, but also left him in sin­gle cov­er­age oc­ca­sion­ally. “When they did — when any­body does — I know what my an­swer will be,” Costello said.

He blamed his team’s in­ef­fi­ciency on first down for Stan­ford’s in­abil­ity to build a big­ger score. “We’ve got to be more ef­fi­cient,” he said. “We had too many penal­ties.”

The Ag­gies (2-1) had 261 yards of to­tal of­fense. Stand­out wide re­ceiver Kee­lan Doss, an Alameda na­tive, had 106 of those yards on 13 re­cep­tions.

“I thought we played re­ally well against him,” Shaw said. “This guy’s re­ally good. He’s fast, long, tracks the deep ball well. That was po­ten­tially a 200-yard re­ceiv­ing game if our guys don’t make the plays that they did make on him. … He’s go­ing to play well at the next level.”

Although Cameron Scar­lett started in place of Love at tail­back and scored a touch­down on a 5-yard run, Stan­ford’s lead­ing rusher was Trevor Speights with 87 yards on 11 car­ries, in­clud­ing

a 38-yard run.

Toner kicked field goals of 31, 33 and 46 yards.

Vet­eran cen­ter Jesse Bur­kett re­turned to the start­ing lineup af­ter miss­ing the first two games with an undis­closed in­jury. But the of­fen­sive line is still not blow­ing any­body away.

“We are still grow­ing,” Shaw said. “We have flashes of be­ing re­ally good and some flashes of not be­ing re­ally good.” He said there were too many times when the line was beaten in pass pro­tec­tion.

Stan­ford needed only a two-play “drive” to ex­tend its lead to 27-3 in the third quar­ter. Fol­low­ing a 22yard punt re­turn by Trent Ir­win, Costello fired a 53-yard bomb to red­shirt fresh­man Osiris St. Brown. Scar­lett scored on the next play from 5 yards out.

The Ag­gies reached the Stan­ford 7 early in the fourth quar­ter, but quar­ter­back Jake Maier’s pass was tipped by line­backer Casey Toohill and in­ter­cepted by fresh­man de­fen­sive end Thomas Booker.

Maier com­pleted 22 of 45 passes for 194 yards be­fore sopho­more Hunter Ro­drigues took over in the fourth quar­ter. Ro­drigues threw a 26-yard touch­down pass to C.J. Spencer on the game’s fi­nal play.

It was the first touch­down Stan­ford had given up since the first quar­ter of the San Diego State game, so the de­fense went 10 quar­ters with­out al­low­ing a TD.

San­ti­ago Me­jia / The Chron­i­cle

Stan­ford Car­di­nal wide re­ceiver JJ Arcega-White­side (19) makes the catch for a

San­ti­ago Me­jia / The Chron­i­cle

Wide re­ceiver JJ Arcega-White­side hauls in one of his two sec­ond-quar­ter touch­down catches.

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