Stanford only appears to be getting better as the season progresses.
The No. 5 Cardinal head into Seattle to face Washington State on Saturday, after disposing of Arizona State last week, 42-28.
Arizona State, expected by many to give Stanford a battle, fell behind at halftime, 29-0, and was never able to recover. The Stanford rushing attack compiled 240 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
As for Washington State, the Cougars (3-1) have racked up three straight wins since losing to Auburn in Week 1. That includes a 10-7 victory over USC in Week 2, and a 42-0 blowout of Idaho last week.
Do the Cougars have enough to upset the Cardinal in Seattle?
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Stanford -10
Stanford Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: LB Blake Martinez (Undisclosed), DE Henry Anderson (Leg)
Questionable: CB Barry Browning (Undisclosed)
Washington State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: S Darius Lemora (Foot)
Questionable: OT Jacob Seydel (Leg)
Top Storyline: Can Cougars QB Connor Halliday Take Care of the Ball?
A big reason why Washington State ranks 118th in the country in turnovers is because of quarterback Connor Halliday's eight interceptions.
Mike Leach's pass-heavy approach has the Cougars ranked fifth in pass attempts per game, and 16th in passing yards per game, but there can be a downside to that strategy, as Halliday has demonstrated.
Last year, in Leach's first year with the Cougars, then-quarterback Jeff Tuel tossed one interception against the Cardinal in the 24-17 loss in Stanford. Stanford also recorded a school-record 10 sacks in the victory.
Stanford has seven sacks through three games this season. More importantly, the Cardinal have recorded a takeaway in a staggering 27 straight games. The team ranks 23rd in yards allowed per pass attempt in 2013.
Can Halliday push the ball down field while being careful with the ball at the same time? He hasn't shown he can yet, but, every week, college football's landscape starts anew.
Prediction: Stanford 31, Washington State 20
One thing that bothers me about this matchup for Washington State, in addition to Halliday's propensity to throw the ball away, is the fact that the Cougars aren't great at stopping the run.
Stanford ranks 44th in the nation in carries per game, compared to 115th in pass attempts per game. The Cardinal have generally preferred to keep the ball on the ground, and it has worked.
Washington State ranks 36th in the nation in yards allowed per carry—which isn't bad—but allowed tougher competition—Auburn and USC—to succeed on the ground. Auburn racked up 295 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in Week 1, while USC's Tre Madden scampered for 151 yards in Week 2.
There is a lot going against the Cougars on both sides of the ball in this matchup. In that respect, I don't expect Washington State to upset the Cardinal.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!