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Thursday, September 27, 2012
Pregame: Washington-Stanford

By Kevin Gemmell

SEATTLE -- Tonight’s Washington-Stanford matchup offers a couple of unique chances for both teams to make statements.

For the Huskies, it’s a chance to show that they are better than the product they put on the field the last time they played a top-10 team. For those with a short memory, that would be the 41-3 loss on Sept. 8 at LSU. The Huskies have notched victories over San Diego State (21-12) and Portland State (52-13).

For the No. 8 Cardinal, it’s their first time taking the field since knocking off USC nearly two weeks ago in Palo Alto. A few Stanford players have already said they feel better prepared this season to handle the expectations of being a top-10 team.

But the biggest winners tonight -- with strong performances -- could be Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor and/or Washington quarterback Keith Price.

Taylor has received a few votes in the ESPN.com Heisman poll, but isn’t much of a national name. With a strong performance (he rushed for 138 yards on 10 carries last year against the Huskies), Taylor might finally gain a little recognition outside of the West Coast. Tonight’s game is national, so it’s a good chance for the rest of the country to learn about the back Stanford coach David Shaw calls the most underrated in the country.

Same for Price. He received a little preseason Heisman buzz, but most of it fizzled after the flop at LSU. A strong performance against the No. 8 team in the country -- which has an A-list defense -- could certainly put him back on a few radars.