By Michael Woo
No. 8 Stanford (6-1, 5-0 Pac-12) brings a six game winning streak into Saturday night’s contest against Washington State (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12). The Cardinal have not lost to the Cougars since 2007, but this year’s game in Pullman, Washington could prove to be a tough test. The matchup features two of the most explosive offenses in the Pac-12, as Stanford averages 37.4 ppg and Washington State averages 36.4 ppg. Here’s a look at the last three meetings between these two teams.
2012: Defense saves the day for No. 19 Stanford in 24-17 win
In a game that Stanford was expected to win easily, the Cougars gave the Cardinal all they could handle. A pounding running game had carried the offense all season, but Stanford was unable to gain any momentum on the ground that day.
Senior running back Stepfan Taylor mustered only 58 rushing yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Josh Nunes had trouble moving the ball down the field as well, completing only 7 passes for 136 yards. His only touchdown of the day came on a 70-yard strike to Jamal-Rashad Patterson in the second quarter.
If not for the heroics of the defense, the Cardinal may not have escaped with the win. The Stanford defense recorded a whopping 10 sacks on the day, and an Ed Reynolds’ pick-6 early in the fourth quarter put the Cardinal up 24-10. With six minutes left in the game the Cougars cut the lead down to seven, but failed to reduce the deficit any further.
2013: No. 5 Stanford routs WSU 55-17 with Hogan under center
The 2013 matchup played out quite differently than it did in 2012. With Kevin Hogan under center, the Stanford offense exploded for 55 points.
Hogan threw for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 11.4 yards per attempt. Devon Cajuste was Hogan’s go-to target on the day, making 4 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. His first score of the day came on a 57-yard bomb from Hogan, and his second touchdown catch went for 33 yards. Wide receiver Michael Rector also caught a touchdown on a 45-yard pass.
A balanced running game complemented the explosive aerial attack, as the Cardinal had three running backs rush for nearly 50 yards each. It was also a coming-out party of sorts for Barry Sanders, then a sophomore, who recorded his first career touchdown. Halfway through the fourth quarter Stanford was up 48-3 and eventually went on to win 55-17.
2014: No. 25 Stanford pulls away in fourth quarter to beat WSU 34-17
Without the consistent, established running game of 2013 to rely on, Kevin Hogan carried Stanford to yet another win over Washington State. Hogan put up nearly-identical numbers to his 2013 game, throwing for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns.
However, Hogan utilized his tight ends in the red zone much more than he used his receivers. Greg Taboada caught two passes on the day, both going for scores, and Eric Cotton caught a 39-yard touchdown pass as well.
The Stanford defense completely shut down the Cougar running game, which produced a net -26 yards on 11 carries. This stout defending forced Washington State to rely solely on its passing game, as quarterback Connor Halliday threw 69 passes.
Despite the dominant performance from the defense, Stanford did not pull away from the Cougars until the fourth quarter. The Cardinal were up only seven points with 13 minutes left in the game, but scored the final 10 points of the game to secure the win, 34-17.
Contact Michael Woo at mtwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.