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Saturday, October 22, 2011
Halftime: Stanford 38, Washington 14

By Kevin Gemmell

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Thoughts from the first half at Stanford Stadium.

Stat of the half: It's got to be rushing yards. The teams have combined for 382 yards on the ground (247 from Stanford, 135 from Washington). Stanford's rushing defense came into the game ranked second in the country, yielding just 59.5 yards per game. Washington's rush defense, No. 17 nationally, allowed just 97 yards per game.

Best player: Take your pick between Stepfan Taylor (130 yards, eight carries, one touchdown) and Chris Polk (143 yards, 10 carries, two touchdowns), but give the edge to Taylor since his team is winning.

Best call: On Stanford's first drive, second-and-11 at the Washington 14, the Cardinal loaded their three tight ends on one side of the field. Andrew Luck took the snap and sprinted toward the tight end side, then threw back across the grain to Taylor, who was tackled at the 2-yard line. Jeremy Stewart scored on the next play. Really well-designed play.

Turning point: At the rate these offenses were moving, Michael Thomas' pick-six of 62 yards in the closing minutes of the first half might have knocked all the wind out of Washington's sails.