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.
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.
We’ll never be sure exactly what would’ve happened if you made a few more completions against Washington or Notre Dame, or if Nottingham beat you out in camp. But what we do know is that it all worked out.
Senior quarterback Josh Nunes, who started the first nine games of Stanford’s 2012 Rose Bowl campaign, and senior fullback Geoff Meinken, a pounding blocker in 2011 before missing all of 2012 with an injury, announced their retirements from college football on Monday morning.
This week I’m going to try something different. This column isn’t coming to you from a one-room double in Lantana or the Terman Engineering Library in Huang, but from the Main Quad, empty on a Tuesday morning save for the chirps of birds and the laughs of tourists. (One just gave me a thumbs up!)