The Washington Huskies shocked the Stanford Cardinal in a Thursday night thriller.
The Washington Huskies went from being an afterthought in the Pac-12 Conference to being at the forefront of one of the biggest upsets through the first five weeks of the 2012-13 college football season by knocking off the Stanford Cardinal, 17-13, at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.
The Cardinal led for almost the entire game but could not get things going offensively. Thus, they failed to put away a feisty Washington squad.
So, what did we really learn about both of these teams after their Thursday night thriller in Seattle? Click on to find out.
Kasen Williams broke two tackles en route to scoring the game-winning touchdown.
Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price found a new favorite target on Thursday night against the Stanford Cardinal, and his name is Kasen Williams.
Price threw for 177 yards and one touchdown in the game. Williams hauled in 10 passes from Price and accounted for 129 receiving yards, including the 35-yard catch that put the Huskies ahead of the Cardinal late in the fourth quarter.
Williams is only a sophomore and should develop a good connection with Price as the season progresses. Watch out for this young wideout during Pac-12 Conference play.
Keith Price had Stanford Cardinal defenders in his face all night long.
The Washington Huskies have been hit harder than anyone in the country when it comes to injuries along the offensive line:
Starting right guard Colin Porter found out he could no longer play football due to degenerative arthritis before the season even kicked off; starting left guard Colin Tanigawa will miss the rest of the season with an unspecified injury; starting right tackle Erik Kohler is still sidelined with an injured knee, and his replacement, redshirt sophomore Ben Riva, is still recovering from a broken forearm.
The Huskies are depleted along the offensive line, to say the least, and the Cardinal did not have to dial up anything exotic to flush Keith Price out of the pocket within seconds.
This is a group of players that will cost Washington more than a couple of games this season if the Huskies do not improve.
Jordan Williamson nailed both of his field-goal attempts on Thursday night.
Sophomore kicker Jordan Williamson went 2-for-2 on his field-goal attempts Thursday night against the Washington Huskies, and early in the game, it looked as though his two kicks would be all the Stanford Cardinal would need to escape from Seattle with a victory.
Williamson bounced back from his 0-for-3 performance against the USC Trojans in Week 3. He should be a reliable option for the Cardinal for the 2012 season.
The Stanford Cardinal entered their Thursday night contest against the Washington Huskies converting just 30.8 percent of their third-down attempts, and things were not much different in their first loss of the season.
Stanford put itself in 3rd-and-long situations all night due to Stepfan Taylor's inability to break off any substantial runs on first or second down. The Cardinal only managed to convert five of their 18 third-down attempts, which is far from efficient.
Also, Josh Nunes often faced heavy blitzes and did not have many open receivers when the Cardinal were forced to throw the ball on third downs.
Sophomore running back Bishop Sankey caught the Stanford Cardinal defense napping at the end of the third quarter and burned head coach David Shaw's squad with a 61-yard touchdown run, which totally shifted the momentum of the game.
The touchdown brought the Huskies to within three points of the lead and gave the Washington players hope, after their offense had failed to get anything going against Stanford's stout front seven for the entire game.
Sankey finished the game with 144 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Everyone expected the Stanford Cardinal defense to slow down the Washington Huskies offense for much of Thursday night, and not too many people thought new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox would have his unit ready to shut down Stepfan Taylor and Josh Nunes.
Washington's defense won the battle on first down more often than not, played great man coverage, force turnovers, put Stanford in several 3rd-and-longs and held Taylor to just 75 yards on the ground.
The Huskies have come a long way since the 2011 season's Alamo Bowl, when their defense allowed Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears to hang 67 points on them.
Josh Nunes' first road start proved to be much more difficult than many anticipated, as the junior quarterback only managed to complete 18 of his 37 pass attempts for 170 yards and one interception.
The Cardinal turned to Nunes to convert a key third down or simply make a play on several occasions, but more often than not, the Upland, Calif., native could not keep Stanford's offense moving.
Nunes struggled with his accuracy in the first half, but once he settled in at the start of the third quarter, the Stanford receivers dropped numerous well-placed balls.
Without Stepfan Taylor running the ball effectively and keeping defenses off-balance, the Washington defense played straight man-to-man coverage, sent extra defenders to pressure the quarterback and forced Nunes to make several errors.
The Cardinal will have to get Taylor going on the ground against their tougher opponents; otherwise, Nunes will once again come up short when Stanford needs him the most.
Not all of Josh Nunes' struggles on Thursday night against the Washington Huskies have to do with Stepfan Taylor's inability to consistently run the football.
The main problem for Nunes in the second half appeared to be that the Cardinal do not have a game-changer at wide receiver, which forced the junior signal-caller to throw balls up into double coverage and did not allow the offense to convert many third downs.
Tight end Zach Ertz hauled in a career-high 106 yards on six receptions, but Stanford's next leading receiver was Ty Montgomery, who dropped three passes that would have given the Cardinal sure-fire chances to score an offensive touchdown.
Stanford fans sure are missing Andrew Luck right now.
The Washington Huskies pulled off an incredible upset on Thursday night against the Stanford Cardinal, but do not be naive enough to believe head coach Steve Sarkisian's squad will be a one-hit wonder in the Pac-12 Conference this season.
The Huskies go on the road next Saturday to take on No. 2 Oregon in Week 6, return home in Week 7 to face the No. 13 USC Trojans and will square off with the No. 18 Oregon State Beavers in Week 9.
Do not be surprised if the Huskies are able to pull off another upset in one of those three games in the coming weeks.
The Oregon Ducks did not even take the field on Thursday night, but the Stanford Cardinal loss to the Washington Huskies certainly affects the perception of who the real contenders are in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Cardinal do not appear to have the quarterback play or offensive firepower that will be required to top Oregon this season.
The Ducks are one of only two teams without a loss in the Pac-12 so far. They have now become the heavy favorite to win the conference title at the end of the 2012 season.