#15 Washington at #5 Stanford Preview
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When: Saturday, October 5th 7:30 pm PT
Where: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
As I outlined in Tuesday’s article “The Season Starts Now”, Stanford football is entering the pivotal stretch of their 2013 season. Saturday’s matchup features two undefeated, top-15 teams in Stanford and Washington. Last year, it was the Huskies that derailed the Cardinal’s undefeated season in Seattle by the score of 17-13. Revenge will certainly be on the mind for Stanford, as Washington has much more on the line this year, including Rose Bowl aspirations. The winner of this game establishes themselves as the second best team in the Pac-12 North and allows them to keep pace with No. 2 Oregon.
When Washington has the ball
Washington’s offense under senior QB Keith Price is operating as efficiently as it has in years. The Huskies rank 5th in the NCAA in total yards, averaging 574 per game. Price seems to be putting it all together this season as he is completing 72.3 % of his passes to go along with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. Washington RB Bishop Sankey has rushed for 607 yards in just four games, providing balance to a potent Huskies offense. Defensively, Stanford is a veteran unit that has a lot of big-game experience. Led by LB Shayne Skov and S Ed Reynolds, the Cardinal are allowing 19.5 points per game. This Stanford defense has a history of performing well in important games, something they will look to continue on Saturday. In last season’s matchup, Stanford allowed just 17 points, but only scored 13 on offense.
When Stanford has the ball
Despite averaging less passing and rushing yards per game than Washington, Stanford is averaging 41.3 points per game, good for 24th nationally. QB Kevin Hogan is coming off his best game of the season against Washington St., throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns. This game may have helped prove to critics that the Cardinal can win via the pass or the run. When it comes to the run, Stanford still performs at a high level, led by RB Tyler Gaffney who is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Washington’s defense is playing at high level this season, allowing just 10.8 points per game. Facing Stanford’s offense will present a challenge unlike any they have faced thus far. If the Huskies can stop the run and pressure Hogan into mistakes, they will have a good shot in this game.
Both teams are riding high at 4-0 entering this matchup, one that looks to be one of the best of the weekend. Washington was able to shut down Stanford’s offense last season in an impressive defensive performance. With the experience and talent on both sides of the ball, this game should be fun to watch. Whichever offense has the best game plan will come out on top in this one.
Prediction: Stanford 35 Washington 21