A matchup that’s been circled on Stanford fans’ calendars for over a year now looms even larger as it approaches. This time, Stanford’s matchup against Washington will be a battle between two top-ranked teams as Stanford enters at No. 5 and Washington at No. 15.
On a rainy, windy Saturday night in Seattle, No. 5 Stanford (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) collected two pick-sixes to score 21 points in the third quarter and annihilated Washington State (3-2, 1-1) in a 55-17 blowout. The victory marked the most points that the Cardinal has scored in regulation since its 65-21 rout of Washington in 2011.
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.
Stanford’s unexpected 2012 Rose Bowl run can, in large part, be pinned on a handful of breakout players: quarterback Kevin Hogan, safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards and wide receiver Kelsey Young. With all four of those performers now established at their positions, we asked Daily football beat writers Joseph Beyda, George Chen and Sam Fisher: Who will be Stanford’s biggest unexpected contributor in 2013?
Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson were part of the Cardinal’s five-man stable of backs that replaced Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart in 2010, and head coach David Shaw has indicated that he will use five running backs per game in 2013 as well to fill in for Stepfan Taylor.
True freshman quarterback Ryan Burns may have accounted for the team’s only points, but the Cardinal offense showed off its depth in Stanford’s open scrimmage on Saturday morning, converting three fourth downs and spreading the ball around at halfback and wide receiver.
Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball have combined for 9,252 career rushing yards, the largest total for two starting running backs the history of the Rose Bowl. The previous record, set by Ball and James last year, was a measly 8,069 yards, and this will be just the fourth Rose Bowl in the last 40 years to feature two tailbacks who have combined for at least 7,000 over their careers.