After rolling over Washington State last week, No. 5 Stanford faces a much tougher Washington team on Saturday in Northern California.
The Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) will host No. 15 Washington on Saturday. coming off a 55-17 beatdown of the Cougars, which included quarterback Kevin Hogan passing for 286 yards and three touchdowns while Barry Sanders Jr. was breaking ankles.
Meanwhile, Washington (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) is enjoying a successful start to the 2013 campaign, still undefeated after pasting Arizona 31-13 last week.
In the win, the Huskies rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns, running the ball 61 times.
Here's a look at the Pac-12 clash on Saturday at Stanford Stadium, complete with my prediction.
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Stanford -7
Washington Injuries (via USA Today)
Questionable: DB Taz Stevenson (Arm), CB Patrick Enewally (Hand), G Erik Kohler (Foot)
Stanford Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: LB Blake Martinez (Undisclosed), DE Henry Anderson (Leg)
Questionable: CB Barry Browning (Undisclosed)
Top Storyline: Can Stanford Slow Down Washington's Offense?
Washington is an up-tempo, fast-paced team. The Huskies have run at least 80 plays in each of their first four games.
However, make no mistake about it, the Huskies are also very efficient.
Quarterback Keith Price ranks seventh in the nation in completion percentage, and is 17th in yards per pass attempt. Washington also ranks 28th in the country in yards per carry behind junior running back Bishop Sankey. Sankey has rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of his past nine games, and at least 200 in two of his past five contests.
Stanford ranks 33rd in the country in yards allowed per carry. The Cardinal have also allowed only two rushing scores, which is tied for sixth in the nation. It's been a collective effort, led by linebacker Shayne Skov (28 tackles) and cornerback Wayne Lyons (24 tackles, four tackles for loss).
Stanford has made a habit out of stopping running games in their tracks, but Washington has a fast-paced rushing attack to be feared.
Prediction: Stanford 24, Washington 21
Who will win on Saturday?
Both of these defenses, and both of these offenses, are formidable. The difference for me will be Stanford's home-field advantage.
Washington may have shocked Stanford last season, 17-13, but that was in Seattle. Playing in Stanford is a completely different story. Stanford has allowed 1.81 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown in two games at home this season.
It took two huge plays down the stretch for the Huskies to upset Stanford last year. I don't see that happening at Stanford Stadium on Saturday.
There's also this little tidbit, via Stanford football insider David Lombardi:
Much talk re: Washington giving up nation-low 3.8 yards per play. Well, WSU entered Stanford game giving up only 3.9. That # shot up to 4.9— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) October 1, 2013