Coming into the 2013 season, most people figured that with Kevin Hogan’s increased experience and the emergence of young wide receivers, Stanford’s offense was going to improve dramatically. After showing signs of improvement early in the season, the Cardinal offense has sputtered over its past few games. We asked football writers Do-Hyoung Park, David Cohn and Winston Shi: Is Stanford’s offense better now than it was going into the Oregon game last season?
Tomorrow, No. 5 Stanford (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) hopes to avoid a similar letdown when it takes on Washington State (3-1, 1-0) in Seattle. Despite a shaky fourth quarter against Arizona State last weekend, the Cardinal is coming off a statement win and looks to keep its momentum heading into the middle segment of the season — a task that it failed to accomplish last year. And once again, the test will come within the hostile confines of CenturyLink Field.
The parallels are everywhere: A 3-0 Stanford team heads to CenturyLink Field to take on an unranked but upstart school from the state of Washington for a prime-time matchup on ESPN.
Through two games, redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Hogan has completed 63 percent of his passes, down from nearly 72 percent last year. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Hogan has been throwing to a highly inexperienced receiver and tight end corps this season, and he has demonstrated improved accuracy with his deep throws, addressing arguably the most notable flaw in his game in 2012. With Arizona State’s strong rush defense coming to town, Stanford will likely need to throw the ball consistently this Saturday, begging the question: How much better—if at all—is the early-2013 Kevin Hogan than his late-2012 counterpart? We asked football writers Winston Shi, Do-Hyoung Park and David Cohn what they thought.
Football preview: Williamson aims for greater consistency, Whitfield tabbed for starting punt returner
Going into his third year as Stanford’s starting kicker, Jordan Williamson has arguably been through more ups and downs than anybody on the Cardinal roster. He has shown the ability to drill the ball seamlessly through the middle of the goalposts throughout his career with one of the strongest right legs in the country.
It’s late in the fourth quarter of the 2012 Pac-12 Championship Game. On the rain-soaked field, Stanford has the ball at its own 28-yard line with less than five minutes left in the game, facing a third-and-2 and desperately clinging to a three-point lead. An eager UCLA defense, with no more timeouts to spare, looks to get the ball back into the hands of Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley.