Stanford Cardinal Fall to Washington Huskies

Sep 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Connor O
Sep 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Connor O /

The Washington Huskies proved too much for the Stanford Cardinal, who were outplayed start to finish. Stanford’s Chances of winning the Pac-12 have taken a hit after a 44-6 defeat in Seattle.

Husky Stadium in Seattle was the backdrop in a pivotal Pac-12 matchup. The Stanford Cardinal looked to keep a stronghold in the conference. Washington was looking to emerge as contenders in the conference. No matter the outcome, one team would come out as conference favorites. The winning team would have better odds of making the College Football Playoff.

Last weekend, UCLA produced a strong game plan which saw Stanford’s offense falter for most of the game. Christian McCaffrey, the heart of the Cardinal’s attack, made no impact. Even though Stanford prevailed at the end, a blueprint was put in place to stop the offense.

The blueprint was executed effectively by Washington’s defense, leaving Stanford’s offense frustrated. Although the offense struggled, the team as a whole was outplayed on both ends. With students back in school, the loudness of Husky Stadium overwhelmed the Cardinal as the offense was unable to find a rhythm. Like against UCLA, the Cardinal hoped to weather the storm early for a counter attack.

Unfortunately, no counter attack ever came from Stanford.

Stanford is known for smash-mouth football and the only way to win is to counter back. Instead, the Huskies did just that by beating the Cardinal on both sides of the football. Not only did the Huskies beat the Cardinal soundly, a statement was made in the win.

On defense, the Huskies bullied the Cardinal offensive line all night. Before the game, Washington’s defense led the nation with 13 sacks without blitzing. In the game, the Huskies defense tallied eight sacks and ten tackles for losses. Azeem Victor led the assault with 11 total tackles and Psalm Wooching had a big night with three sacks. Consistent pressure and out-battling Stanford’s offensive line was evident all game.

The absence of Alijah Holder and Quenton Meeks in Stanford’s secondary was evident. Jake Browning picked apart a struggling Cardinal pass defense, finding open receivers down the field. He threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis each had four receptions for a combined 142 yards, and a touchdown apiece.

On the ground, Myles Gaskin ran for 100 yards with two touchdowns. Both he and McCaffrey were the critical factors in order for their teams to have success. Gaskin came out on top through the play of the Huskies’ offensive line. After rushing for 181 yards against Arizona, Lavon Coleman had another strong performance with 74 yards and one touchdown.

Ryan Burns was left frustrated as he was unable to find time in the pocket. From the start he was rattled, not expecting the tenacity Washington was unleashing defensively. After two series, Keller Chryst came in for one series to allow Burns to observe mentally from the sideline. The end result was more frustration, which continued throughout the game. Burns finished with 151 yards throwing and one touchdown.

In road games against ranked conference opponents, McCaffrey has been unable to find the end zone. With Stanford’s offensive line being outplayed, McCaffrey made no impact, rushing for 49 yards and gaining 30 yards through the air. JJ Arcega-Whiteside caught a touchdown for Stanford’s lone scoring drive of the game.

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Patience has now paid off as Petersen scored the program’s biggest victory since winning the national championship in 1991. The win has made Washington Pac-12 favorites and contenders for a berth in the College Football Playoff.

However, next week’s game for the Huskies will dictate how the Pac-12 will unfold in the North division. Another Friday game has Washington traveling down to Eugene against the Oregon Ducks. After Washington’s Friday win against Stanford, the Ducks’ current 12-game win streak is in serious jeopardy.

The only factor keeping Washington from beating Oregon next week is coming into Autzen Stadium overconfident. Over the years, teams coming off big wins have a tendency for letdown performances the following week. The Huskies should be aware of what is at stake, or they will be leaving Eugene in defeat.

As for Stanford, David Shaw needs to regroup and prepare next week for Washington State. The Cardinal have to forget about what took place in Seattle. This loss may have hurt their chances for the College Football Playoff, but are still in the hunt. However, the path is difficult with little room for error as the Cardinal cannot afford another loss.

If Stanford wants to still win the conference and make the playoff, help from the outside is the only source. The Cardinal will most likely take a tumble in the rankings from how bad the loss was. Washington has to lose two conference games for Stanford to control the Pac-12 North. For the playoff, only the committee will decide which teams are worthy.

Friday’s loss has altered the Pac-12. Washington used Stanford’s own medicine to assert themselves as conference favorites. As of now, Stanford’s reign in the Pac-12 appears over. The Cardinal are no longer clear favorites in the Pac-12. Only time will tell how the rest of the season plays out for both Washington and Stanford.

Next: Stanford Cardinal Face Washington Huskies in Top-10 Showdown

Stanford cannot afford to let the loss affect the rest of their season. The Cardinal no longer control their destiny, but the season is not a loss yet. The goal is one game at a time from this point on. Scoreboard watching will only hinder play on the field.