The leading receiver for the Stanford Cardinal, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, suffered an injury in the win against the Arizona State Sun Devils and will reportedly miss the game on Saturday against the No. 20 Utah Utes.
Stanford beat writer says JJ Arcega-Whiteside won't play for Stanford this Saturday.— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) October 4, 2017
"He's their best WR on the field."
Arcega-Whiteside leads Stanford in receptions per game (3.3), yards (192) is tied for the most touchdown receptions (two) and is second in receptions (13). He has hauled in 25% of Stanford’s touchdown passes, just over 20% of their passing yards, and just under 17% of their receptions. All of his catches, yards, and touchdowns have come in Stanford’s three Pac-12 games. He did not play against Rice and failed to record a catch against San Diego State.
The Stanford passing attack ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game (188.4) and completion percentage (57.5), last in passing attempts per game (26.8), and ninth in both passer rating (133.22) and yards per attempt (7.0). The raw passing statistics show that the Stanford offense is a run-first one-dimensional offense, but even when Stanford does pass, they are not particularly efficient or explosive as evidenced by their completion percentage, passer rating, and yards per attempt all ranking ninth or worse in the conference.
Losing Arcega-Whiteside makes the already one-dimensional Stanford offense even less dangerous through the air. With an extra week to prepare for the potent Stanford rushing offense, I expect the coaches will attempt to find a way to slow down Bryce Love, who is averaging over 11 yards per carry so far this season, and force Stanford to pass more than they are comfortable with. Without their top wide receiver, Utah can focus even more on stopping the run, which might just give them enough of an edge to slow the rushing attack enough to get the win in this game.