Stanford vs Pitt
December 31, 2018
WHO: Stanford (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (7-6) WHERE: El Paso, Texas
WHEN: 11 a.m. Monday TV/RADIO: 5 # z/680, 1050
NOTES: Stanford makes its 10th straight bowl appearance, extending a program record. Head coach David Shaw is 4-3 in bowl games. … The Cardinal have won three in a row. All four of Stanford’s losses in a midseason stretch of five games came against teams in the top 20 of the College Football Playoff rankings: Notre Dame, Washington, Washington State and Utah. … A win for Pitt would be the Panthers’ eighth and would mark their fourth eight-win season in nine years.
Pitt — OL Jimmy Morrissey (ankle), DL Keyshon Camp (upper body), RB Mychale Salahuddin (undisclosed) and LB Quintin Wirginis (knee) are out.
One big change would have been moving Paris Ford from cornerback to safety, but he didn’t travel to El Paso for personal reasons that puts his future at Pitt in question.
Stanford — CB Alameen Murphy (und.), RB Bryce Love (ankle), DE Dylan Jackson (und.), QB Davis Mills (knee), OT Walker Little (und.) and S Ben Edwards (und.) are out. G Nate Herbig won’t play in order to prepare for the draft.
LB Andrew Pryts (knee), LB Casey Toohill (und.), C Drew Dalman (und.), TE Kaden Smith (und.)( 47r for 635yds 13.5ypr & 2TD’s ) and LB Mustafa Branch are questionable.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, selected as the team’s MVP, is one touchdown catch from breaking the school record of 14 that he shares with Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton (1977). Arcega-Whiteside ranks third in the nation in that category.
With 3,435 passing yards this year, Stanford QB K.J. Costello is 193 from breaking Steve Stenstrom’s 1993 school record of 3,627. Costello is 82 yards behind Andrew Luck, who’s second at 3,517.
Pittsburgh running backs Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison might be the focus of the offense, but the other player the Cardinal need to contain is speedy junior Maurice Ffrench. He has returned two kickoffs for TDs, one a 99-yarder against Notre Dame. He also caught a 58-yard TD pass against Central Florida, a 50-yarder against Duke and a 78-yarder against Virginia Tech.
Even without tailback Bryce Love, Stanford plans to stick with the running game in the Sun Bowl against Pittsburgh in El Paso, Texas, on Monday.
“We’ll play most of the backs like we always do. We’ll rotate those guys and keep those guys fresh.”
Cameron Scarlett, also a senior, was second to Love’s 739 yards with 236 yards, followed by 221 from junior Trevor Speights, who was among the Texas high school career rushing leaders in McAllen. Scarlett matched Love with a team-best six rushing touchdowns.
“Cameron Scarlett is more than capable,” Shaw said. “He’s had some big games, some big moments really throughout his entire career. Excited about what he’s got a chance to do.”
Qadree Ollison (1,190 yards) and Darrin Hall (1,021) are the keys to Pitt’s 18th-ranked rushing offense at 230 yards per game. They have 20 touchdowns rushing between them, led by Ollison with 11.
“I think it keeps them fresh,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “One big hoss gets a little tired, the next guy can come in and get it done. You’re not just playing with one tailback that’s a big, bruising back. You’re playing two of them that can wear on a defense.”
Pitt sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett is set for his 15th career start, with a 60 percent completion rate to go with 1,833 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
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