Stanford looking to QB Keller Chryst to jump-start offense

STANFORD, Calif. -- David Shaw has decided to bench Ryan Burns and instead start Keller Chryst as quarterback in an attempt to jump-start Stanford's staggering offense.

"We should be able to score points with the personnel we have on the offensive side," said Shaw, whose team features star running back Christian McCaffrey. "That's the bottom line here."

The 4-3 Cardinal haven't been scoring. A year after leading the entire Power 5 in offensive points per drive, Stanford has scored only one non-garbage-time touchdown in four games on its way to ranking No. 126 of 128 FBS teams in points per game.

Shaw emphasized that the decision to bench Burns was particularly difficult because the Cardinal's entire offense is at fault for the malaise. The line has struggled to consistently open running holes -- the Cardinal have failed to average three yards per carry in three of their past four games -- and the team has already allowed more sacks (21) than it did throughout all of 2015.

"It would be really easy if it was just the quarterback," Shaw said. "If we were running for 250 yards a game, and the quarterback had all day to throw, and our wide receivers were making phenomenal catches, it would be really easy. ... That's why you feel really bad for Ryan. You won't find a more improved player over the last calendar year."

Burns played his worst game of the year in Saturday's 10-5 loss to Colorado, throwing three interceptions and posting a season-low QBR of 17.3. He has thrown for 1,058 yards, five touchdowns and seven picks on the season.

Even when Burns was announced as Stanford's starting quarterback before the opener, Shaw said that Chryst would play. The redshirt sophomore has seen action off the bench in six of the Cardinal's seven games. Chryst has completed 7 of 18 passes for 63 yards. Stanford only used him to run the ball against Colorado.

Shaw implied that Stanford will no longer rotate quarterbacks.

"As of right now, Keller is going to play," he said. "Ryan will back him up and stay ready."

The Cardinal will travel to face 2-5 Arizona, which is winless in conference play. They'll take on the Wildcats on Saturday night with a new starting quarterback, and they'll also be without a starting cornerback.

Shaw announced that Alijah Holder will miss the rest of the season with the shoulder injury that first shelved him several weeks ago. Holder returned to the Cardinal's lineup against Colorado and played for one half, but then exited the game.

"We just can't get it right," Shaw said. "So we're gonna have to keep him out ... It's so unfortunate, because he and Quenton Meeks were an incredible tandem."

Shaw said that Holder should be healthy for spring practice.