After last years’s gripping 31-28 victory over the Washington Huskies, Stanford will travel to Seattle to take on a re-built Husky squad that lost star quarterback Keith Price and Bishop Sankey to the pros. Washington has gotten off to a 4-0 start, albeit against the likes of Eastern Washington, Illinois, Hawaii, and brand new FBS admit Georgia State. Washington struggled with the lowly Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in their season opener, only winning 17-16 on the road. The Huskies have not started 5-0 since 1992, and will face a tough test in the #16 Cardinal. However, the last time the Cardinal visited Seattle, they were upset 17-13 and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Will Chris Petersen’s Huskies be able to prevail versus a Cardinal team that has struggled to score in the red zone?
19: Number of times Washington has sacked opponents, the best figure in the nation.
489-279: Total yards in last year’s matchup, Washington out-gaining Stanford by 210 yards.
0: Number of Pac-12 games Chris Petersen has coached.
KEY MATCHUPS AND PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Stanford KR/WR Ty Montgomery: Montgomery gave Washington fits on defense last year, taking the opening kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown, racking up 290 all-purpose yards. He also had 56 yards receiving on three catches, one for a 39 yard touchdown. Washington had no answer for Montgomery when he touched the ball, and that is likely to be the case again this year. His ability to get yards after the catch has torched opposing defenses this season. Corner Marcus Peters, who has two interceptions in the young season, will likely cover the big receiver.
Washington NT Danny Shelton: Shelton, a 340 pound physical beast, leads the team in sacks with seven. Shelton will provide matchup problems against Stanford center Graham Shuler, who checks in at only 280 pounds. The Cardinal’s young offensive front has struggled mightily this season, allowing Kevin Hogan to be sacked five times in three games, two against UC Davis and Army. Last year, he was sacked 14 times in 14 games. If Stanford cannot contain Shelton, it will be a long day for Hogan under center.
Stanford receiving corps vs. Washington secondary: Washington’s secondary gave up 471 yards through the air in the second week of the season in a seven-point win over an FCS Eastern Washington team. Stanford clearly has much better athletes than the Eagles did, and Eastern Washington was able to gain ten yards/attempt through the air. Montgomery, physical freak Devon Cajuste, and tight end Austin Hooper should have their way with a weak Husky secondary. If Stanford dominates through the air, it should open up the running game, a good confidence booster for a team that is 74th nationally in rushing yards.
Stanford will cover the 7.5 point spread easily against an overrated Washington team that cannot defend against the pass, Stanford’s offensive forte. Kevin Hogan take advantage of this mismatch, and lead the Cardinal to a big 35-17 win over an undefeated Husky team.
Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pac12.com
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Cover Image: By Cynthia Yock (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons