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Sports >  NCAA

First look: Washington State at Stanford

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 16, 2020

Stanford players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Colorado in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.  (Associated Press)
Stanford players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Colorado in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (Associated Press)

What is it? Washington State (1-1) faces Stanford (0-2) for a late-night Pac-12 North matchup on “The Farm.”

Where is it? Stanford Stadium.

When is it? Kickoff is 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where can I watch it? Fox Sports 1 will carry the broadcast.

Who is favored? The Cardinal opened as 2½-point favorites.

How did they fare last week? The Cougars had a five-point lead at halftime, but lost 43-29 to No. 11 Oregon in Pullman. The Cardinal nearly came back from a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but lost 35-32 to Colorado at home.

Why WSU will win: The reinvented WSU run game will have more than a few opportunities against a Stanford defense that’s been vulnerable on the ground in its first two games. In the season opener, Oregon rushed for 269 yards and 6.7 yards per carry, while Colorado gained another 177 yards on the ground at almost 4 yards per carry last Saturday. So in two games, the Cardinal have conceded 446 rushing yards, allowed seven rushing touchdowns and are giving up 5.3 yards per carry. It bodes well for a WSU team that’s been able to rush for 329 yards and four touchdowns in games against Oregon State and Oregon. Stanford’s defense has allowed 70 points in two games – 35 in each – and the Cougars have a favorable track record against the Cardinal, averaging 39 points in the last four games. WSU also hasn’t lost a road game against Stanford since 2014.

Why Stanford will win: The offense may keep the Cougars in just about every game they play this season, but the defense may be what prevents them from winning some of those, or perhaps winning some by a comfortable margin. Stanford’s offense found a groove in the second half of Saturday’s game against Colorado, scoring 23 points and 16 in the fourth quarter. The second half of WSU’s game against Oregon, and Oregon State for that matter, is where the Cougars’ defense wilted. WSU allowed 21 points in the second half at OSU and 29 against Oregon. The Cardinal weren’t as productive in their season opener against Oregon, scoring just 14 points, but had more success when starting quarterback Davis Mills returned to the field to play Colorado, throwing the ball 56 times as opposed to 26 with backups Jack West and Tanner McKee the week prior.

What happened last time: Anthony Gordon threw for at least 500 yards on three occasions last season, including a Nov. 16 game against Stanford, and the Cougars drilled the Cardinal 49-22 to pick up their fifth win after losing five of their previous six games. Gordon completed 44 of 60 passes for 520 yards and five touchdowns, throwing nine times to Brandon Arconado, who had 148 receiving yards and a touchdown, and another 11 times to Easop Winston Jr., who finished with 107 yards and two touchdowns. It was a passing clinic all around, as Stanford’s Mills completed 33 of 50 passes for 504 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stanford closed WSU’s lead to 25-22 in the third quarter, but the Cougars scored the final 24 points, and Max Borghi had two touchdowns in the final period – one rushing and one receiving.

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