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Two minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Stanford

In this Oct. 8, 2016 file photo, Washington State running back Jamal Morrow, right, runs past Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Don’t take your eyes off

Mike Leach says it may not be long before true freshman Tay Martin is Washington State’s best wide receiver. The other Martin – Tavares Martin Jr. – may have to graduate before that happens, but the rookie from Houma, Louisiana, has been especially integral to the passing game in the last two weeks. He’s only made seven receptions in those games, but three of those grabs were worth six points and Martin is not just stopping when he sees the ball into his hands. He’s averaging almost 21 yards per catch the last two games and has long receptions of 49 and 50 yards.

When Stanford has the ball…

What do we know about K.J. Costello, the redshirt freshman Stanford quarterback who’s taking over as David Shaw’s starter this week? In five games this season, he’s completed 43-of-67 passes for 492 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. In the only start of his career, Costello was 15-of-24 for 173 yards with one touchdown while leading the Cardinal past Arizona State, 34-24.

When WSU has the ball…

The Cardinal rank second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing just 21 points per game, but maybe the Cougars can make a move in the first half when Stanford will have to play without a pair of defensive starters. One of those is star cornerback Alijah Holder, who left the Oregon State game with a knee injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. The other is inside linebacker Joey Alfieri, who was ejected in the second half against the Beavers and won’t be eligible to return until the second half of the game at Martin Stadium. The Cougars could have a chance to score early and often in this one.

Did you know?

The Cougars haven’t strung together consecutive wins against Stanford since the 2006 and 2007 seasons. WSU won 36-10 in Palo Alto in ’06, then followed with a 33-10 win in Pullman the following season. The Cardinal ended that run and did it emphatically by trouncing the Cougars 56-0 in California a year later.