Washington State (2-5, 0-4); Stanford (5-2, 3-1) Time: 3:15 p.m., Stanford Stadium TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 710 ESPN. Line: Stanford by 24...
Washington State (2-5, 0-4); Stanford (5-2, 3-1)
Time: 3:15 p.m., Stanford Stadium
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 710 ESPN. Line: Stanford by 24 ½
The setup: WSU tries to keep alive its wan hopes for getting to its first bowl since 2003. Stanford attempts to stay viable for a Pac-12 North title, with Oregon and Oregon State still on the schedule.
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What to expect: WSU is one of the poorest FBS rushing teams, and that doesn’t figure to be alleviated against stout Cardinal, so Cougars will have to attack through the air, hoping to get good corps of receivers in space. Stanford has a huge offensive line and RB Stepfan Taylor, but Cardinal might also try to advance QB Josh Nunes’ development for key games down the road.
Key matchup: Stanford OLBs Trent Murphy and Chase Thomas vs. WSU OTs Gunnar Eklund and Wade Jacobsen. Cardinal ‘backers are as good a pair as there is, and at times will be trying to pressure WSU’s Jeff Tuel. Cougars have to keep Tuel clean to have any chance offensively.
Notes: WSU coming off a bye following disappointing 31-17 home loss to California. … Stanford leads series 36-25-1 and has won past four. … Cougars have played nine true freshmen in 2012. … WR Marquess Wilson has 3,034 career receiving yards, putting him atop WSU list, and returns after sitting out the last 40 minutes of the Cal game with a concussion. … WSU, with 19 sacks, has been much-improved at getting to opposing QBs, but Stanford continues to be one of the hardest teams to sack, allowing only seven. … Cougars seem committed to senior QB Tuel after sophomore Connor Halliday threw five interceptions vs. OSU and Cal and was replaced in both games. … Stanford is 19th in both coaches and AP polls. … Five Cardinal players are from Washington, including backup FB Geoff Meinken of Lynnwood, who originally committed to WSU. … Stanford doesn’t boast great skill players, but Drew Terrell leads Pac-12 punt returners at 16.7. … Stanford held Cal to three yards rushing last week. … Taylor is second on school career rushing list with 3,616 yards, 417 behind leader Darrin Nelson.
Upset brewing? Although Stanford comes off two highly charged games against Notre Dame and Cal, the physical matchup doesn’t bode well for WSU.
Injuries: WSU — RB Teondray Caldwell (concussion), out; RB Leon Brooks (ankle), doubtful; WR Isiah Myers (unexplained practice absence), questionable. Stanford — WR Ty Montgomery (knee), questionable.
Prediction: Stanford 33, WSU 17.