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Stanford 17, Kansas State 3 at halftime: A good start gone bad

The old problems, they’re still there.

Ertz can run, but the passing game’s absent.
Ertz can run, but the passing game’s absent.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It all started so well.

Christian McCaffrey was held to less than two yards a carry on Stanford’s first two drives. The Cardinal were held to a field goal on the game’s opening possession. The Wildcats looked decent, although the offense stalled on its first drive.

But then Ryan Burns completed every single one of his pass attempts and K-State altered their defensive scheme. That allowed McCaffrey to get unbottled, and next thing you know Stanford’s up 17-0... and it could have been worse. A 96-yard McCaffrey punt return was erased on a Stanford penalty. His 35-yard touchdown run, as well as a 40-yard hookup between Burns and Michael Rector, gave the Cardinal the early advantage.

Other big notes:

A nice punt return by Dominique Heath was also erased by a penalty.

Byron Pringle was basically tackled in the end zone with no penalty flag being thrown late in the half; K-State had to settle for a Matt McCrane field goal.

We’ll dig into the problems (and bright spots) post-game. For now, your second-half open thread.