In the mythic battle between the irresistible force and the immovable object both sides are eventually destroyed amidst much smoke and thunder. The Pac-12 version of that very conflict gets underway at 7:30 p.m. PDT Saturday night on The Farm in Palo Alto, California. Playing the part of Mr. Irresistable would be the Washington Huskies. Their immovable antagonist will be played by the Stanford Cardinal.
Washington has been lighting up the scoreboard like a Roman Candle on the 4th of July. The Huskies are second in the conference in offense (behind Oregon) and, more impressively, rank fourth in the nation in that category. Senior quarterback Keith Price, miscommunication and missteps with Head Coach Steve Sarkisian a distant memory from last year, has run the Washington offense with both precision and finesse. Price is completing a whopping 72% of his throws, with nine touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Price is more than ably supported on the ground by Bishop Sankey. The quick and hard charging junior runner from Spokane's Gonzaga Prep is fifth in the nation in rushing with 607 yards. Add five rushing touchdowns to his resume' and you have a quality back. The Price/Sankey combination has moved the Washington offense (and the team in general) into the national conversation for the first time in many years. Washington is ranked 15th in the most recent polls and can only improve that position with wins against Stanford this week and Oregon next week.
The Stanford Cardinal stand ready to defend their turf. The Cardinal rank in the top 20% of the nation in every major defensive category. If the Cardinal have a defensive specialty it would be defending the run. Stanford is allowing only 3.4 yards per carry, second in the conference.
Offensively Stanford comes into Saturday night well armed. Junior signal caller Kevin Hogan is completing 63% of his throws thus far, with 10 TDs and only three picks. Hogan is smart, and a good game manager and caretaker of the ball. Those traits are much admired by Stanford Head Coach David Shaw.
Senior running back Tyler Gaffney carries the mail for Stanford. Gaffney has gained 377 yards on the season, and boasts an impressive 5.37 yards per tote. Stopping Gaffney and the ball control Cardinal offense will be key if the Huskies are to spring the upset on the road.
Las Vegas lists the Cardinal as a 7 1/2 point pick. The view from here is that this is a severe step up in class for the Huskies. The fifth ranked Cardinal are unlike what this Washington team has seen all year. Take Stanford and lay the points.
The game is scheduled for telecast by ESPN. It can also be heard on the Washington IMG Network. The radio pregame gets underway at 2:30 Saturday afternoon. Teams to their battle stations! The game is afoot!