PULLMAN – It was an injury–depleted Stanford squad that was pelted last week in the 44–6 loss at Washington. And in this weekend’s suddenly critical matchup with Washington State, the Cardinal will likely again be without two of its most important defenders.
Coach David Shaw conceded on Tuesday during the weekly Pac-12 coaches teleconference that starting cornerbacks Alijah Holder and Quenton Meeks are “most likely out” against the Cougars. Holder led the team in pass breakups before he was injured and Meeks intercepted two passes from WSU quarterback Luke Falk in last year’s 30-28 Stanford win.
Their presence will be sorely missed against a WSU team that ranks first in the conference in total offense and second in both passing and scoring offense.
Last week, UW quarterback Jake Browning completed 15-of-21 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinal as UW played most of the game with a substantial lead. Whether or not the Cougars lead against the Cardinal, however, Stanford’s former backup cornerbacks can expect to be tested substantially more often in the passing game.
Although, the Cougars have set rushing records under fifth-year coach Mike Leach in consecutive games. Despite the numbers, however, quarterback Luke Falk has still attempted 84 total passes in the two games.
“They’re running the ball with very good efficiency, and combined with their pass attack, they’re very tough to stop,” Shaw said.
Furthermore, the Cougars are starting to open up their passing attack. Even though Falk is second in the conference with 206 pass attempts, his six passes of more than 30 yards is tied for just seventh with UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
He attempted two against the Ducks, one early in each half clearly taking advantage of something the UO defense was presenting. Do not be surprised if he takes a few early shots against Stanford’s new starting corners.
Alameen Murphy and Terrance Alexander started against UW last week, and neither recorded a pass breakup.
Shaw also said that receiver Francis Owusu likely will not be healthy in time to take the field against WSU.
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