Stanford Secondary vs Irish Receivers
Just like every position group prior, Stanford lost great talent and experience in their secondary to the NFL last season as well. Safety Justin Reid and cornerback Quenton Meeks combined for 13 interceptions in their careers and were huge losses for the Cardinal secondary.
Fifth-year corners Alijah Holder and Alameen Murphy will be the most experienced players returning to the secondary. Murphy leads the team with two interceptions so far this season and has played in every game over the last three seasons. He has failed to prove himself as a true lock-down corner, so this could be a great week for either Miles Boykin or Chase Claypool to have a breakout game.
Alijah Holder will be opposite of Murphy. In the previous two seasons, Holder has only played 12 games due to injury, but so far has remained healthy and has been productive for the Cardinal defense in 2018.
Frank Buncom and Ben Edwards will be the safeties for Stanford and redshirt sophomore Malik Antoine can see playing time as well after finishing last season strong vs the Irish and TCU.
Though Claypool finally found the endzone last week, he and Boykin for the most part have been struggling this season. Blame the quarterback, blame the play calling, whatever — the fact is they need to improve moving forward for this offense to be successful.
It was refreshing to see Michael Young show off his speed and play-making ability last week on his 66-yard reception (of course it happened on a slip screen which I had been calling for our offense to throw away and never run again). Chris Finke has also emerged as a solid possession receiver, almost matching his career receptions coming into the season (16) through the first four games with 14 receptions.
This is a battle that is a toss up. Book has the ability to make throws and move the ball in a way that Wimbush had struggled with all season, and we saw what the offense can do last week with a competent passing game. It will be up to Book making the right reads and more importantly, our receivers creating separation and getting open. Oregon was able to pick apart Stanford’s secondary last week and the Irish have the opportunity to do the same.
In the end it will come down to who makes more plays — which both teams are more than capable of doing.