Photo from sfgate.com: Stanford’s Simi Fehoko leaps in front of Washington’s Elijah Molden to catch a first-quarter pass. Fehoko had three receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown.
by Marko Ukalovic
PALO ALTO–The Stanford Cardinal football team used a stifling defense and a balanced offensive attack to execute a huge upset over the number 15th ranked Washington Huskies 23-13 on Saturday evening at Stanford Stadium.
Stanford came into the game as a 16.5 point underdog. The victory is their second in a row after after a three-game losing streak.
Stanford (3-3, 1-2) received the opening kickoff and marched down the field led by junior quarterback David Mills, who was making his second start of the season after replacing K.J. Costello last week against Oregon State. Mills led an 11 play, 82 yard drive, that chewed off 5:09 off the clock, only to have it stall out at the Huskie two yard line. Kicker Jet Toner easily made a 20 yard chip shot to give the Cardinal an early 3-0 lead.
Washington (4-2, 1-2) junior quarterback Jacob Eason was supposed to have a breakout game against a Stanford defense that was giving up an average of almost 35 points a game in their previous four contests.
However, Stanford was able to put consistent pressure on Eason, forcing him out of the pocket which resulted in incompletions from errant throws. Even when Eason did have time to throw the ball. the Cardinal secondary were up to the task knocking balls away from the hands of Huskie receivers.
Down 7-6 five minutes into the second quarter, Mills connected on a 42 yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Simi Fehoko, who was wide open down the right sideline and glided in for the touchdown and a 13-7 lead that Stanford never reliquished.
Washington kicker Peyton Henry kicked a 25 yard field goal with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter to pull the Huskies to within 13-10 at halftime. That was as close as they would get to Stanford on the scoreboard.
Stanford controlled the time of posession by a six and half minute margin in the first half 18:36 to 11:24. They finished the game with a nearly two-to-one margin 39:01 to 20:59.
“So to always quote the great Chip Kelly”, said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “Time of possession means nothing unless you score touchdowns. Usually at the end of the game, time of possession means one thing to me: Means we have the lead and we’re running the ball well.”
In the opening drive of the second half, it looked like Washington was going to make a run as a big play from Eason to Aaron Fuller for 35 yards setup the Huskies inside the Stanford defensive zone. However the Cardinal made a huge stop on 4th and 2 from their own 13 yard line to take over on downs. It set the tone for the rest of the evening as the defense kept Washington big play offense from making any kind of an impact down the stretch.
The Cardinal offense controlled the game with a career rushing game from running back Cameron Scarlett. The fifth year senior ran for 92 of his 151 yards in the second half, including a four-yard touchdown with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter to give the Cardinal a two-score lead essentially putting the game out of reach for the Huskies.
“Just an outstanding game by Cameron Scarlett”, said Shaw. “Probably one of the biggest plays of the night was in pass protection and if you know the truth about that, was the biggest challenge we gave Cam this year was that he needs to be a great pass protector.”
Scarlett had never had a 100-yard rushing game in his career, with his previous best at 97 yards.
“Yeah I knew today was going to be the day”, said Scarlett when asked if he thought tonight was going to be the night he broke the 100-yard threshold. “I’ve been sick and tired of rushing for 90 yards, the 92, 97 I see that. One thing I wanted to get over a hundred for sure and wanted to do whatever I could to make sure the offense could move the ball and I did that.”
Eason finished the game 16-36 for 206 yards and one touchdown, his first in Pac-12 play this season, a 3 yarder to sophomore tight end Cade Otton. The lone bright spot for the Huskie’s offense was Fuller’s performance of nine catches for 171 yards.
“A quarterback like that, you let him sit back there, he’ll pick you apart”, said Shaw regarding Eason’s abilities. “Thankfully we made him move and throw the ball away a couple of times and made him tuck it a couple of times. We were able to rush the passer with some regularity.”
Mills, who left the game midway throug the fourth quarter with some discomfort, finished 21-30 for 293 yards and one touchdown. Fehoko finished the game with three catches for 91 yards.
GAME NOTES: Stanford was penalized 9 times for 70 yards. Washington was 4 for 34 yards.
3rd Down Conversions: Stanford 6/14 Washington 2/12 and never converted a third down in the second half (0-7).
The Huskies have lost six consecutive games at Stanford Stadium. Their last win in Palo Alto was back in 2007.
Stanford’s senior right guard Henry Hattis suffered a lower body injury with 6:20 left in the third quarter and had to be carted off the field. He did not return to the game.
Washington’s redshirt freshman running back Richard Newton, who led the team in rushing with 64 yards on 10 carries, was injured after a rushing play with 4:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The announced attendance was 33,225.
UP NEXT: The Cardinal have a bye next weekend and return back to action on Thursday 10/17 when they host UCLA in a Pac-12 matchup.