Thursday, October 13, 2011
Prediction: Stanford at Washington State
By Kevin Gemmell
With a victory, the Stanford Cardinal become bowl eligible for the third straight season. That's a big deal for a program just a few years removed from a 1-11 campaign. By now, we all know that Stanford (5-0, 3-0) has the nation's longest winning streak, the best quarterback in the country and a stingy defense that doesn't give up many points. Put all of that together, and you have win consecutive win No. 14.
Prediction: Stanford 42, Washington State 14
Why they'll win: The Cardinal have too much balance for the Cougars to handle. Whether it's pounding away with their stable of running backs or going over the top to the tight ends or wide receivers, Stanford is yet to face a team that can take away all of their weapons on offense. Someone is always open. And even when they're not, Luck finds a way to make them open. He's gotten better the last couple of weeks distributing the ball more to the running backs and fullback Ryan Hewitt has proven to be invaluable in the passing game. If Tyler Gaffney's star continues to rise at running back, he'll provide a very nice complement to Stepfan Taylor.
In the spotlight: The secondary needs to have a good game to keep Washington State's spread offense in check. The Cougars have tried to run the ball more in recent weeks -- we know how that usually works out for teams against Stanford. More than likely, Washington State will have the same, unsuccessful results. And if the secondary can do a good job shutting down their receivers, it could be a long day for WSU quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, who has already been sacked 12 times this year.
Out on a limb: Chris Owusu bounces back with a big game. After a rocky outing last week against Colorado, where he caught just three balls for 34 yards, the wide receiver should return to form. Coach David Shaw said he wants to get Owusu more involved early so he can get into a rhythm. And there is some history in Martin Stadium between Owusu and Andrew Luck. The quarterback made his collegiate debut in Pullman and threw one touchdown -- a 63-yarder to Owusu.