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Liveblog: Stanford escapes with 24-17 victory over Washington State

We’ll be updating this page throughout today’s Pac-12 North matchup between No. 17 Stanford and Washington State with instant coverage and analysis. Please refresh this page for the most recent updates. All times are Pacific.

 

3:00 PM: Welcome to The Daily’s liveblog of today’s game between the Cardinal and the Cougars. Thanks for joining us everyone. We’re about half an hour away from kickoff.

3:18 PM: Stanford players have just rushed out of the tunnel. Small, but by no means quiet contingent of Wazzu fans in the visitor section. Three minutes until kickoff.

3:21 PM: Washington State won the toss and will receive to start the game.

3:22 PM: Quarterback Jeff Tuel and company set up shop at their own 25-yard line. The Cougars’ ground game has been nonexistent all season, averaging only 40 rushing per game (second worst in the nation). Look for the Cardinal to come out with a lot of nickel and dime defensive packages this afternoon.

3:25 PM: Washington State trying to establish its running game early. Stanford front seven says no way.

3:26 PM: Trent Murphy gives a glimpse of why he was named a Butkus Award semifinalist with an 11 yard sack on Tuel. Murphy now leads the team in both tackles for loss (10) and sacks (5.5).

3:28 PM: True freshman Kodi Whitfield picks up a first down for Stanford. Not a bad way to have his first career reception.

3:30 PM: Stanford’s offense moving the ball efficiently so far on its first drive, but now faces a 3rd-and-7 at the Washington 25. Coach David Shaw isn’t fond of settling for field goals when the offense is close to the red zone.

3:32 PM: But it looks like Stanford will have to settle for three here as Jamal Rashad-Patterson catches Josh Nunes’ high pass, but is unable to keep a foot in bounds. Jordan Williamson drives through a 42-yard field goal and the Cardinal takes an early 3-0 lead over the Cougars with 8:23 left in the first quarter.

3:35 PM: Cardinal secondary will need to extra careful with junior wideout Marquess Wilson. One of the most electric receiver in the conference, Wilson averages over 16 yards per catch.

3:39 PM: Stanford front seven having a party in the backfield, sacking Tuel twice on the first two Cougars drive. Josh Mauro got  the sack that time on 1st-and-10.

3:43 PM: Kevin Hogan makes his first appearance in the game with a 3-yard carry. Look for him to see more action today as the “Hogan package” expands.

3:45 PM: Through the first two drives, Nunes has been inefficient and uncomfortable in the pocket against one of the worst pass defense in the country. His pump fakes got him nowhere on the 4-yard sack. Stanford will have to punt the ball away now.

3:50 PM: Wilson gets his first reception of the day with an 8-yard catch.

3:51 PM: Back-to-back sacks on Tuel by Ben Gardner and Alex Debniak. Stanford defense already has five sacks with 36 seconds left in the first quarter. -36 rushing yards for the Cougars so far. They’ll need to put up their season average just to have positive net yardage by the end of the game.

3:52 PM: Pep Hamilton adding some creativity to the play calling with a reverse. Patterson picks up the first down with a 12-yard gain as the first quarter comes to an end.

3:58 PM: Stepfan Taylor just did something that you won’t see him do often: lose yards. Loss of 3 brings up 2nd-and-13 at the Cardinal’s 42-yard line.

3:59 PM: Nunes’ stats so far: 2-of-6 passing for 4 yards. That’s less than a yard per throw.

4:04 PM: Cougars cross the midfield for the first time this afternoon. Tuel having trouble with finding his receivers more consistently, so he’s starting to scramble more now.

4:06 PM: Tuel makes his first big throw of the game with a 43-yard bomb to Dominique Williams. Man-to-man coverage on the outside that time and safety help on Wilson made that throw-and-catch possible.

4:10 PM: Washington State knocking on the door now with a 1st-and-goal at the Stanford 3-yard line. Cougars have the chance to take the lead right here, despite having an absurd -32 rushing yards.

4:11 PM: …And that’s exactly what they do. Wazzu takes a 7-3 lead on Williams’ 3-yard touchdown reception, capping an 11-play, 88-yard drive.

4:17 PM: Midway through the second quarter, Taylor has been uncharacteristically quiet, gaining just 12 yards on 5 carries. To be fair, the offensive line hasn’t given him any holes to work with so far.

4:18 PM: Nunes find a wide open Patterson for a 70-yard touchdown. Williamson’s PAT is good and the Cardinal retakes a 10-7 lead over the Cougars. Nunes’ yards per pass just went from 0.7 to 10.6. Career-long pass and catch for Nunes and Patterson, respectively.

4:21 PM: Shaw repeatedly said he wanted the wide receivers to get more involved, especially with all the attention that defenses are giving to tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. Stanford’s done a much better job in that area these past two games.

4:27 PM: Debniak gets his second sack of the game as Stanford keeps on putting consistent pressure on the quarterback. Still, the Cardinal cornerbacks haven’t been playing tight on their assignments, so Tuel has been able to find his targets underneath and move the chain.

4:30 PM: Cardinal defense makes a critical stand on 4th-and-4. Stanford will get the ball back at its own 32-yard line.

4:32 PM: Another inefficient three-and-out for the Cardinal. Cougars hoping to tie or take the lead with 1:56 left in the first half.  Even with one timeout left, two minutes seem like an eternity to the pass-happy Wazzu.

4:35 PM: Mike Leach elects to go for it on fourth down at the Stanford 40 and Tuel doesn’t disappoint with an 8-yard scramble to pick the first down. Cougars going on full throttle in the hurry up…

4:39 PM: Any pre-game predictions about this contest being an easy win for the Cardinal are out the window as Andrew Furney nails the 24-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 apiece right before halftime.

4:43 PM: The most shocking halftime stat: Taylor only has 13 net rushing yards. Washington State defense not respecting Nunes’ ability to pass at all and loading up the box with eight or nine guys. Stanford has rushed for a mere 38 yards against an awful Cougars run defense that gives up 175 yards on the ground each game. This isn’t Alabama that the Cardinal is playing against.

4:45 PM: Ertz and Toilolo have yet to get a catch.

4:46 PM: It’s hard to deny that Stanford’s offense is resembling its form on the road against Washington and Notre Dame.

4:50 PM: It’ll be interesting to see what Shaw draws up for his offense in the second half. Will he try to stick with the running game, which the Cougars have managed to shut down by crowding the line of scrimmage? Or will he put the ball in the hands of Nunes, who’s been anything but efficient? Tough to call to make.

4:51 PM: Stanford desperately needs some rhythm after being out-possessed by Washington State 21:03-8:57 in the first half. Nine minutes of possession for a run-powered offense won’t cut it against any team.

5:0o PM: We’re ready for the second half to begin as the Cardinal will start with the ball.

5:03 PM: Nunes finds Ertz for the first time today for a 19-yard completion. Where was that in the first half?

5:04 PM: Offensive line couldn’t block the versatile Travis Long that time as Taylor goes for just a yard.

5:05 PM: Nunes connects with Drew Terrell for 23 yards. First back-to-back completions for the redshirt junior this afternoon.

5:07 PM: Nunes first overthrows Ertz and then underthrows him on the very next play, but is saved by a defensive pass interference call against the Cougars. Automatic first down for the Cardinal at the Washington State 15.

5:09 PM: Hogan converts a big 3rd-and-2 with the option keeper. Smart decision by Hogan to keep the ball on that play.

5:11 PM: 3rd-and-1 at the Cougars 1-yard line. Can the Cardinal finally punch it in?

5:11 PM: …Yes it does. Ryan Hewitt rumbles ahead for the 1-yard touchdown, his first score of the season and first rushing touchdown of his career. Williamson’s PAT is good and Stanford now leads Washington State 17-10 with 8:04 left in the third quarter.

5:12 PM: That was a 13-play, 78-yard drive that ate up 6:56 off the clock. That’s the classic Stanford drive we know. The Cardinal will need to engineer more of those if it wants to put the Cougars away.

5:17 PM: Solid, tight pass coverage by the Cardinal secondary to open up the second half. That’s Washington State’s first three-and-out of the game.

5:22 PM: Nunes finds the sure-handed Terrell again for a third-down-converting, 12-yard catch.

5:23 PM: Nunes fumbles the ball for the second game in a row, but luckily recovers that one and Stanford retains possession.

5:24 PM: Travis Long making his presence known as he disrupts Nunes’ pass intended for Terrell. Cardinal to punt.

5:30 PM: Despite the heat that Stanford’s front seven has been bringing to the backfield, Tuel is having a decently efficient game: 29-of-38 passing for 264 yards and a touchdown.

5:34 PM: The speedy Kelsey Young gains seven on the halfback draw. According to Shaw, Young is the second fastest player on the team, behind Ty Montgomery.

5:35 PM: The Cardinal offense looked better in the third quarter, but Nunes missed a couple easy throws and the running backs still aren’t getting big openings to run through. Sustaining drives will be key. We go to the fourth, with Stanford leading Washington State 17-10.

5:39 PM: So far today, Young’s speed has allowed him to be more effective than Taylor when it comes to running around the edge.

5:40 PM: Hogan in back-to-back snaps for the first time this season, but gets sacked dropping back off the play-action. Matthew Bock and Cyrus Coen were credited with the sack.

5:42 PM: The punter doesn’t usually get mentioned very much, but Daniel Zylinchski has helped the Cardinal big time in winning the field position battle today. He’s averaged 42 yards per punt and landed three punts inside the 20-yard line.

5:47 PM: Safety Ed Reynolds picks off Tuel and returns it for a 24-yard touchdown. That’s Reynolds’ fourth interception of the year and his second pick six. Williamson’s PAT is GOOD. Stanford now extends its lead over Washington State 24-10 with 10:43 left in the third quarter.

5:51 PM: With the way that Tuel has been scrambling, the Cougars might actually finish the game with positive rushing yards. They’re at a solid golf score of -7 right now.

5:55 PM: Despite the Cardinal’s 14 point lead, Washington State is outgaining Stanford 303 yards-228 yards on offense. Stanford defense executing the bend, but don’t break strategy to a tee.

5:58 PM: Wazzu refusing to give up though, as Tuel finds Kristoff in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Williams Furney’s PAT is GOOD and the Cougars shorten the Cardinal’s lead 24-17.

6:02 PM: Stanford defense gave a score, but it also scored on the previous Cougar possession. It’s time for the offense to step up: dominate up front and the eat the clock up. Can’t give the ball back to Tuel.

6:05 PM: Whitfield makes his second career reception with 4:07 left in the game. This one also picks up the first down. Big hauls by the true freshman this afternoon.

6:08 PM: Cardinal hoping to put the game away on this drive. A few more first downs would do it.

6:10 PM: Instead, Nunes’ keeper on 3rd-and-5 goes nowhere and Washington State will get the ball back with the chance to tie the game. The Cardinal defense has done a good job with bringing pressure on Tuel all day. Can it hold one more time? Let’s see if defensive coordinator Derek Mason decides to bring the blitz or drop back in coverage. Crowd finally getting into the game with Washington State at its own 35-yard line.

6:15 PM: Wilson makes an incredible catch down the field for a 42-yard gain, all the way down to the Stanford 23-yard line . Chop block penalty on the subsequent play moves Cougars back to the Stanford 38.

6:17 PM: Murphy comes up with a huge sack to make it third-and-21. That’s Murphy’s second sack of the game.

6:18 PM: Tuel’s incomplete pass brings up fourth-and-21 at the Stanford 34. The game comes down to this play. Timeout called by Stanford.

6:19 PM: Unbelievable catch by Bobby Ratliff to convert the Cougars’ fourth down. First-and-goal at the Stanford 9. Washington State knocking at the door.

6:20 PM: Intentional grounding by Tuel results in loss of down and ten-yard penalty. 2nd-and-goal at the Stanford 19. 15 seconds left in the game.

6:21 PM: Henry Anderson sacks Tuel with six seconds left for the game-ending play. Washington State had no timeouts left to stop the clock and Stanford escapes with a 24-17 victory over the Cougars.

6:23 PM: Thanks for joining us everyone. Washington State gave the Cardinal quite a scare today, but Stanford managed to squeak out a 24-17 win. No. 17 Stanford improves to 6-2 on the season and 4-1 in Pac-12 play. Washington State falls to 2-6 and 0-5 in conference play.

About George Chen

George Chen is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily who writes football, football and more football. Previously he worked at The Daily as the President and Editor in Chief, Executive Editor, Managing Editor of Sports, the football beat reporter and a sports desk editor. George also co-authored The Daily's recent book documenting the rise of Stanford football, "Rags to Roses." He is a senior from Painted Post, NY majoring in Biology. To contact him, please email at gchen15@stanford.edu.
  • Vad

    Nunes is awful… get him out of there.

  • Vad

    Get Nunes out of there… they are putting all defenders in the box because of Nunes’ great ability to misfire or lack of ability to read coverages.

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