Stanford (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 9 Washington (8-1, 5-1)
King Jemison: Stanford 27, Washington 23
This is partially just me being stubborn. I picked Stanford to win the Pac-12 North before the season. Until that chance is totally dead and gone, I’m gonna stick with it. I also believe we’re in for one of those weird #Pac-12AfterDark games, though. Washington’s defense is one of the best in the nation, but they’ve rarely been tested so far this year. Stanford’s offense has looked bad the last couple weeks on the road, but in the three homes games this season they were a whole different team. I suspect we’re going to see a new look David Shaw offense that will catch the Huskies off guard initially. KJ Costello finally gets the opportunity to show off his tremendous arm as he slings it all over the field to Stanford’s bounty of talented wide receivers and tight ends. Bryce Love gets back to his usual self, which is bad news for any defense. Meanwhile, Jake Browning shows some of the weaknesses that have held him back since the end of last year. Stanford’s defensive line will turn up the pressure on the Husky QB and force him into at least one interception. Washington’s run game will bend the Stanford defense without breaking it. In the end, Costello’s first game-winning drive helps Stanford escape the Huskyfight with a win and get back into the Pac-12 North race.
Sam Curry: Washington 27, Stanford 17
I hate to predict two Stanford losses in a row, but last week’s game didn’t give me any reason not to. I have little confidence in the Cardinal going into this game, but I will say their performances at home do give me a reason to think they have a chance. The defense has been solid, so I don’t think Jake Browning & Co. will put points on the board nearly as quickly or effectively as last season’s game in Seattle, and I’m confident they’ll give the offense a good chance to win. But that’s the problem; I don’t think the Stanford offense is capable of outscoring the Huskies, no matter how well the defense contains them. Against the two best defensive fronts the Cardinal have faced this season (USC and Washington State), their offense has folded. The Huskies, led by local product Ben Burr-Kirven, might be the best defense they have faced yet, and I’m not sure if Bryce Love, as adept as he is at finding them, will find many creases to run through. If the passing game gets going, it will be a different story, but I haven’t seen enough of KJ Costello against strong defenses to assuredly say he can stretch this Washington defense out. I say the Huskies never run away with it, but are in control throughout most of the game.
Matthew Bernstein: Stanford 24, Washington 21
Fresh off a close game against Washington State, the Stanford football team (6-3, 5-2) plays No. 9 Washington (8-1, 5-1) just six days after the tough loss in Pullman, WA. Look for junior running back Bryce Love to play a focused and competitive game despite rehabbing from an ankle injury. Though he was held to 69 yards last week, he still averages 50.7 yards per touchdown and has scored at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive games. This places his streak at first in the nation and second in Stanford history. Junior safety Justin Reid has 5 interceptions, which ranks him first among PAC-12 players and second in the country. Expect him to be a force against junior quarterback Jake Browning and the Washington offense, which will be hard to beat as Browning has 75 career touchdown passes tying Washington’s all time record. Sophomore KJ Costello will have his work cut out for him, but I expect him to play tough and steady at home. The Cardinal are 1-1 with him as quarterback, losing to Washington State and beating Arizona State. Other tough matchups include junior punter Jake Bailey against Washington’s Dante Pettis, who last week set the NCAA record for punt returns for touchdowns with nine total. Although Washington leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 11.1 points per game, expect junior inside linebacker Ben Burr-Kevin to take a commanding role on defense for the Cardinal. With 59 tackles, he leads the Stanford team. This will be a fast game, but I expect Stanford to eke out a win 24-21.
Contact King Jemison at kingj ‘at’ stanford.edu, Sam Curry at currys ‘at’ stanford.edu and Matthew Bernstein at mbernste ‘at’ stanford.edu.