Stanford (5-0) vs. WSU (3-2)
Heading into their toughest test yet this season, Washington State hoped to be riding the high of another inspiring road victory.
That fate almost came true but it wasn’t to be. Instead, the Cougars await Stanford’s arrival feeling the sting of defeat.
(7) Stanford Cardinal (5-0) @ Washington State Cougars (3-2)
Saturday, October 15, 7:30 p.m. ET
Martin Stadium, Pullman, Washington
Favorite: Stanford -21
Washington State had UCLA beat this week, leading by five points until late in the fourth quarter, when Kevin Prince hit Shaquelle Evans on a seven-yard touchdown pass to clinch the win for the Bruins.
Most concerning about the loss?
The Cougars has the Bruins right where they wanted them after knocking UCLA starting quarterback Richard Brehaut out of the game.
If backup Kevin Prince could beat them, how will WSU contain Andrew Luck of all people this week?
Is Washington State’s defense prepared for what Stanford will bring on Saturday?
With respect to San Dan Diego State and UCLA, WSU hasn’t faced anything close. Andrew Luck is the consensus choice to go No. 1 in the 2012 NFL draft, an elite quarterback prospect and the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
He’s the model of efficiency, having completed 73.1 per cent of his passes for 1,383 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
What’s especially scary about Stanford is that the Cardinal aren’t a one-man team. They have one of the nation’s better running games, too, with Stepfan Taylor excelling in the featured role.
He gashed the Cougars for 142 yards and two scores in a 38-28 win last year.
It’s fair to assume that WSU’s 52nd-ranked defense (71st against the pass) will have its hands full on Saturday. To hang with Stanford, the offense may have to do the heavy lifting.
Stanford has the country’s No. 2 run defense but is 85th against the pass, suggesting some vulnerability (though that stat partially reflects teams throwing a lot to catch up in garbage time).
Marshall Lobbestael is likely to start again at quarterback for the Cougars.
Jeff Tuel can practice but hasn’t been cleared to play in a game yet.
Lobbestael was good but not great against UCLA this week, perhaps opening the door yet again for a quarterback switch. For WSU to hang with Stanford at all, he’ll need to be at his absolute best.
Expect an impressive passing display from both teams and a high-scoring affair on Saturday.