Stanford (2-1 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) at Washington (4-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-12)
When: Saturday, Sept. 27, 4:15 p.m. ET, FOX
- The Huskies are tied for the national lead with 19 sacks
- Washington is one of nine teams that has not thrown an interception this year
- Including Washington, 24 unbeaten teams remain in the FBS level
The Huskies open Pac-12 play against Stanford on Saturday. The Stanford game marks the first time the Huskies have been underdogs heading into a game this year. The Huskies struggled in three of the four games where they were the favorites, hanging on to beat Hawaii and Eastern Washington and erasing a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Georgia State.
After opening with a blowout of UC Davis, the Cardinal fell 13-10 at home against USC. Stanford bounced back with a 35-0 shutout of Army before having a bye last week.
Leading up to this game, the dominant Cardinal defense has been well documented. Stanford is first in the nation, allowing an average of just 4.3 points per game while also allowing just 66 passing yards per game. Given the Dawgs offensive struggles, just how effective will the Huskies be on offense?
Coach Chris Petersen is optimistic that dynamic receiver John Ross will return from a leg injury and play against the Cardinal. Ross averages 37.3 yards per catch and has scored four touchdowns on nine offensive touches.
Washington quarterback Cyler Miles will also have to play much better than he did against Georgia State. Miles looked anxious in the pocket and missed several wide open receivers against the Panthers. Backup quarterback Jeff Lindquist provided a spark with several big quarterback designed runs while Miles lined up as a receiver.
Defensively, the Huskies will rely on their defensive line and linebackers to shut down the running game. The Huskies defensive backs are going to have enough trouble on their own with Stanford’s wide receivers, let alone if they are also being forced to make tackles when Stanford runs the ball. Last year, when the Cardinal held on for a 31-28 win, the Huskies allowed just 179 yards on the ground. Washington will look for Danny Shelton and company to be stingy up front.
The pick: If the Huskies put together a complete game, both offensively and defensively, for 60 minutes, the Dawgs will be tough to beat at home. But given the struggles of Cyler Miles and the Huskies passing attack, the chances are slim to beat Stanford using just an effective ground game. Washington will compete, but Stanford might have just a bit more offensive punch. Stanford 24, Washington 17