Stanford vs Washington State Preview

by Jerry Feitelberg

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The Stanford Cardinal returns home to meet the Cougars of Washington State University Friday Night at Stanford Stadium. Game time will be at 6pm and will be on national television broadcast on ESPN and on KNBR Radio 1050.

Stanford (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) will be looking to get back on the winning track after a tough loss last Saturday to Notre Dame. The will be playing the pass-happy Washington State Cougars(2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) coached by Mike Leach. Leach is in his third year as head coach and took the Cougars to their first bowl game in 10 years last year. Leach also coached at Texas Tech and was very successful using the passing game and had the Red Raiders ranked nationally during his tenure there. The Cougars lost a wild game last week to call 60-59. The Cougars’ quarterback, Connor Halliday, passed for a national record of 734 yards and six touchdowns but they did not win as they missed an easy field goal and let the game slip away. So far this year, Halliday leads the country in yards passing(3052), touchdowns (26) and total offense(498.0 yards per game.)

The Stanford defense will certainly have to be on their toes to stop the passing game. Stanford leads the country in scoring defense (8.6 points per game) and ranks second in passing yards allowed (107.04)

It does not look like the Cardinal defense will have to worry about the Cougars’ running game and they will be concentrating on stopping Halliday and the passing game as Halliday is averaging 62 attempts per game. However, Halliday will call a running play when he feels the play will confuse the Stanford defense and to keep them honest.

It is not known at this time if Stanford’s quarterback,Kevin Hogan, will play Friday. Hogan was injured in the Notre Dame game and did not practice Monday. Hogan was limited in Tuesday’s practice and was expected to practice without limitations on Wednesday. Backup QB Evan Crower has been taking snaps with the first-team offense and will be ready if Hogan can’t go.

Notes:

Stanford is ranked first nationally in scoring defense and second in total defense(232 yards/game) and passing defense. Stanford has allowed just 43 points through five games. The defense allowed 36 and the other points came on an Stanford offensive fumble which was returned for a score.

Stanford has held opponents under 30 points in each of its past 28 games, the nation’s longest such streak. The Cardinal is 39-4 at Stanford Stadium since the final home game of 2007. Stanford is 8-0 following a loss under head coach David Shaw.

Stanford leads the series 38-25-1 and won the last meeting 55-17 last year.

The Cardinal has won the last six games in the series and has averaged 43 points per game during that span.

Should be an interesting game. Get there early as parking is going to be horrific due to the unusual 6pm start time Friday night.–

Jerry Feitelberg
jyf1938

Cal mistake prone again, falls to Washington State

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Cal’s offensive numbers are eye-popping, but they don’t obscure the fact that the Bears are rapidly losing ground in the otherwise upwardly-mobile Pac-12.

The Bears fell prey to early miscues and turnovers again, and fell to Washington State on Saturday, 44-22.  With only one win over Portland State in the previous 12 months, Cal has dropped nine straight games to FBS competition and fell to 1-4 on the season.

Daniel Lasco’s fumble at WSU’s 3-yard line on Cal’s first possession and a bushel of penalties on the second poisoned Cal’s first quarter that ended with WSU leading 14-0.  In the previous two games, Cal trailed Oregon 27-0 and Ohio State 21-0 establishing a disturbing pattern that has Coach Sonny Dykes looking for answers.

“Right now we are having a very difficult time running the football, which is putting a lot of pressure on our offensive line,” Dykes said.  “We are not good enough up front to pass protect.  Jared (Goff) had pressure on him all day and got a little rattled because of it.”

Goff may have been rattled, but in Dykes’ system the pass plays just keep coming.  The true freshman signal caller again threw for 400 yards, attempting 58 passes that produced two lengthy touchdown plays.  But the Bears never got closer than 14-12 in the second quarter as Washington State’s Connor Halliday attempted 67 passes, completing 41 for a total of 521 yards and three touchdowns.

Ultimately, the 44,000 that attended saw another lengthy football game, filled with big plays but lacking in competitiveness.   The mistake-plagued Bears committed 11 penalties and five turnovers to rob the afternoon of any drama.

And while the Bears fluctuated between the mistakes and the home runs like Chris Harper’s 89-yard touchdown catch and run, Washington State was remarkably steady in moving the ball via the pass as Halliday was sacked just once.

“The offensive line played unreal,” Halliday said of his protectors.  “That was huge.  Those guys really got in a rhythm up front and dominated the game.  I think I got hit twice.  That’s a lot of fun back there when you have all that time to get rid of the ball.”

The Bears had beaten Washington State eight straight times prior to Saturday, but the slow start and mounting injuries put a stop to that streak.  Prior to the game, Dykes announced that center Chris Adcock will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.  Also, this week safety Alex Logan retired due to recurring injuries and prominent pass rusher Chris McCain was dismissed due to repeated personal conduct issues.

During the game, the Bears lost linebacker Jalen Jefferson, safety Joel Willis and corners Stefan McClure and Kameron Jackson to injury, more bad news for a defense that has surrendered a whopping 45 points per game.

As for the rest of the challenging schedule and Cal’s mounting losing streak against conference competition, they will see three currently-ranked teams (Washington, Stanford and UCLA) as well as Oregon State, currently 4-1 and 2-0 in the conference in the final seven weeks.   On the positive side, the Bears could be healthier once the schedule eases in November with home games against USC and Arizona and a road trip to Colorado.

Next Saturday, the Bears face 12th-ranked UCLA at the Rose Bowl.