Saturday is homecoming for the No. 24 ranked Stanford football (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) who return to the Farm for the first time since October 6th to take on No. 14 Washington State (6-1, 3-1) in a top-25 showdown to determine control of the Pac-12 North.
Stanford football (5-2, 3-1) recovered from two straight painful losses to get a huge 20-13 road victory over Arizona State (3-4, 1-3) on Thursday night. Senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside had seven catches for 91 yards and the go-ahead touchdown, his ninth of the year. The Cardinal defense forced three turnovers to keep the Sun Devils offense in check and move Stanford one step closer to a Pac-12 North title.
“It starts with stopping the run.” After three straight games allowing a one hundred yard rusher, defensive coordinator Lance Anderson knows disrupting the Arizona State run game is the top priority for the Stanford defense.
The Stanford Cardinal (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) will return to action tonight at Arizona State (3-3, 1-2 Pac 12) looking to rebound from consecutive defeats. The Cardinal will come off their bye to play a team in the Sun Devils that has been perfect at home under first year head coach Herm Edwards, including a win against a top 25 ranked opponent in Michigan State.
The Daily’s football writer King Jemison shares the three keys the Cardinal football team should adhere to this weekend if they hope to take down the Fighting Irish.
No. 7 Stanford just got over one massive hurdle on their path to the College Football Playoff by defeating No. 19 Oregon on the road. If they want to stay on that path, they have to go on the road and beat a ranked team yet again. This time, the opponent is No. 8 Notre Dame, under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium. With Touchdown Jesus hovering over one end zone, this football shrine is where National Championship dreams go to die – just ask the 2012 Stanford team, whose OT loss in South Bend likely cost them a spot in the BCS Championship game. Or ask #14 Michigan, whose 24-17 loss to the Fighting Irish is their only blemish so far. This may be the hardest game on Stanford’s schedule, and it comes on the second week of a tough road trip after an incredibly emotional victory. Coming out of South Bend with a win seems like a tall task, but the theme for the Cardinal this season is believe. With that in mind, here’s three keys for Stanford in this huge Top 10 battle against Notre Dame.
After allowing two quick touchdowns to Washington’s potent offense last week, Stanford’s entire defense put together their finest performance of the season last Friday. They allowed just 26 Washington yards on their next five drives and did not concede another score for over 36 minutes of game action.
Stanford’s practice on Wednesday night ended with the temperature under 60 degrees, and most coaches were wearing jackets or sweatshirts. On Saturday against Washington State in Pullman, the temperature will be about half that, as the high is forecasted to be 36 degrees with some snow possible. Cardinal coaches and players addressed the added degree of difficulty and what they must do to adjust to the weather after practice.
Stanford football’s defensive unit has been known, at least in the past decade, for its gritty front seven that boasts “intellectual brutality.” This year the strongest component of the defense might be the secondary, as defensive backs coach Duane Akina has put together a group so deep you can hardly see the bottom.
No. 18 Stanford football (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) will look to cap off the 2016 season with a victory in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against the North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4, 5-3 ACC) Friday at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.