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The season finale: will Cardinal conquer football?

For their final game of the season, Stanford Football (3-8, 1-8 Pac-12) will return home to face Brigham Young (6-5, 0-0). Stanford will also be celebrating its seniors at Seniors’ Night of Football this weekend. This game is the Cardinal’s last chance for a win for his seniors. A win would allow the team to surpass last season’s record of 3-9 and prevent another season from ending with several weeks of losses.

The Cardinal enters this matchup after a loss to the Cal Golden Bears (4-7, 2-8 Pac-12) in the 125th big game. A consistent offensive performance kept the Cardinal ahead through the first three quarters. However, the fourth quarter saw a complete turnaround as the Cal lineup kept Stanford out of the end zone and scored an impressive 21 points, more than the Cardinal scored in the entire game.

Head coach David Shaw says his defense has performed adequately this season.

“We’ve improved,” Shaw said. “They have gained a lot of experience, even in difficult situations. Their game would improve last month if the inside linebackers were healthy because they all play together, with gap responsibilities and double teams for a linebacker to make the play.

Injuries have hit Stanford hard this year. Both sides of the ball saw games with no primary starters, and although some formerly injured players returned to the field against Cal — safes Kendall Williamson and Patrick Fields and center back Jacob Mangum-Farrar — little playing time was cranked out as the players felt weren’t on healthiest.

Brigham Young enters this matchup after a home win over Utah Tech on their senior night. The Cougars came out slow and didn’t accumulate points in the first quarter after giving up an early touchdown against Utah State. But like Cal, Brigham Young came late to an impressive performance as the team edged Utah Tech 52-20 in the remaining quarters. That game underscored BYU’s offensive prowess with 220 rushing yards — 80 more than Utah State — and 456 passing yards — 116 more than Utah State — for a 26-point win.

Stanford defeated No. 13 Notre Dame last month, a week after the Fighting Irish defeated Brigham Young. The Cardinal lineup can score and prevent, as seen against Cal and Notre Dame. Therefore, Stanford should be able to pull off a season-ending win. What stands in their way: Inconsistency. The team must remain aggressive through 12:00 a.m. on Saturday in the fourth quarter to send the Cougars home in defeat.

Kick-off is Saturday at 8 p.m. at Stanford Stadium.

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