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Sports >  WSU football

First look: Stanford at Washington State

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 11, 2019

Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello leads out his teammates to warm up before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello leads out his teammates to warm up before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)

What is it? Still needing two wins for a postseason berth, Washington State (4-5, 1-5) will return to the Palouse for just its second home game in 50 days when Pac-12 North foe Stanford (4-5, 3-4) visits.

Where is it? Martin Stadium in Pullman.

When is it? Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where can I watch it? The game will air on Pac-12 Networks.

Who is favored? The Cougars opened as 12-point favorites.

How did they fare last week? Stanford fell 16-13 at Colorado, losing on a 37-yard field goal at on the final play. Washington State trailed the entire game at Cal, losing to the Golden Bears 33-20.

Why Stanford will win: Bryce Love is no longer in the Stanford backfield, but the Cardinal still have the ability to move the ball on the ground behind a hulking offensive line and running back Cameron Scarlett, who ranks fourth in the conference with 87.5 yards per game and 93 yards per game in Pac-12 play. The Cougars, meanwhile, have been the league’s rushing defense and are giving up 198.7 yards on the ground in Pac-12 games and 681 in the last three games. Despite losing a few big, tall targets in J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Kaden Smith, quarterback K.J. Costello still has more than a few capable wide receivers who could make life tough on WSU’s struggling defensive backs. Colby Parkinson, a 6-foot-7 junior and preseason All-Pac-12 First Team honoree, paces Stanford with 36 catches, 412 yards and one touchdown.

Why WSU will win: Aside from the fact that the Cougars are 16-2 in their last 18 home games, they’ve won the last three against Stanford and scored 107 points in those games, including 41 last season. WSU’s offense has been stymied in to of its three road games, but the Air Raid has thrived at home, averaging 55.2 points against New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, UCLA and Colorado, and 607.2 yards of total offense in those games. While Stanford’s Costello was strong in his return from an injury, throwing three touchdown passes and no interceptions in a win at Arizona, he was shaky last game against Colorado, with one touchdown and one interception in a three-point loss to a Buffaloes that ranks near the bottom of the conference in total defense. Costello, a preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team selection, is completing just 61 percent of his throws and has six touchdowns compared to three interceptions.

What happened last time: A back-and-forth affair in Palo Alto saw Washington State take an early advantage before Stanford scored three straight touchdowns to lead by as many as 14 points in the first half and 11 points at halftime. Undeterred by that, the Cougars came out of the break to score the game’s next three touchdowns, a run from James Williams and passes from Gardner Minshew to Renard Bell and Tay Martin. Costello tied it up at 38-38 when he tossed his fourth touchdown of the game, and his second to Arcega-Whiteside, giving the Cougars 1:25 to work with. Minshew hit inside receiver Jamire Calvin on a 35-yard seam pass to set up Blake Mazza’s 42-yard field goal, which won it with 14 seconds left to improve No. 14 WSU’s record to 7-1.

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