No. 23 STANFORD vs. OREGON
2017 RECORDS: Stanford 4-2, 3-1 Pac-12. Oregon 4-2, 1-2 Pac-12
KICKOFF: Saturday, 8 p.m. at Stanford Stadium
RADIO: KNBR 1050
SERIES HISTORY: 81st meeting (Stanford leads 47-32-1)
STORYLINES: Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, in his first season with the Ducks, returns to The Farm, where he spent three years as the running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh from 2007-09 at the same time Stanford head coach David Shaw was also an assistant on staff. … ‘Willie and I have always gotten along since the day that we met,” said Shaw, who added both trade questions about coaching philosophies and rule changes in college football. “Both of us are pretty mild-mannered, pretty easy talk to, we’ve always been very conversational. We’ve touched base periodically since he’s left. I call him and check in on him, text him congratulations when they’ve won in the past. I haven’t really done that this year.” … The Cardinal begins play in the Pac-12 North without two of its key players on defense, with DT Harrison Phillips, who leads the team with 47 tackles, and OLB Peter Kalambayi, who according to a glitch on ESPN.com leads the nation with 9 sacks, forced to sit out the first half after incurring targeting penalties late in the fourth quarter of last week’s 23-20 victory at Utah … What does Shaw think about the 8 p.m. kickoff for the homecoming game? … “Earlier is better,” he said.
STATS THAT MATTER: The status of Air Quality Index, or AQI, which Stanford is closely monitoring as a result of the North Bay fires which caused the cancellation of all high school football games this weekend in the Peninsula … Oregon running back Royce Freeman has found the end zone 10 times, which ranks fourth in the nation. (He needs one touchdown to break the program record for career TDs and points scored.) … “First of all, I thought he had an outstanding opportunity to go to the NFL last year — not super happy that he passed that up,” Shaw said. “He’s just dynamic, he’s physical, he’s strong, he gets the tough yards, but he’s got the speed and athleticism to break big, long runs, as well. And he can catch the ball out the backfield, he’s a complete back.” … The Ducks lead the nation with 24 sacks … “They’re flying around, they’re playing fast, they’re playing physical,” Shaw said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence.”