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QB Keller Chryst to make first career start for Stanford

October 15, 2016: Stanford Cardinals quarterback Keller Chryst (10) looks downfield for a receiver during the NCAA football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinals at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Stanford head coach David Shaw has replaced starting quarterback Ryan Burns with junior Keller Chryst in advance of Saturday’s game against Arizona, Shaw told reporters during his Tuesday press conference. Saturday will notably be the first start of Chryst’s collegiate career.

Burns has been the team’s starter since the start of the season and led the team to a 3-0 start with wins over Kansas State, USC and UCLA to open the campaign. However, Stanford has not scored more than 20 points in a game since that win over UCLA and Burns has struggled, especially over the last two weeks. In the team’s two most recent games against Notre Dame and Colorado, Burns has completed less than 55 percent of his passes and thrown four interceptions against zero touchdowns.

On the season, Burns has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 1,058 yards and five touchdowns, but has thrown seven interceptions while being sacked 19 times.

”I hate to get to this point,” Shaw said. ”But it’s the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It’s our challenge to support Keller.”

Chryst has appeared in 10 games for the Cardinal over the past two seasons. He has thrown for 122 yards on 12-for-27 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

Both Chryst and Burns have been working with the first unit all season, according to wide receiver Trent Irwin, so Shaw will hope for a relatively seamless transition.

”I’ve been working with both all year and they’re both great people,” Irwin said. ”Sometimes you just need a change. We’ll see where it goes and have fun with it.”

Arizona is 2-5 on the season and winless in Pac-12 conference play, so Chryst will have a low-stakes game to get comfortable as the team’s starter.

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