Two of the PAC 12’s most high powered offenses go head to head on Saturday, when the #8 Stanford Cardinal will try for a school record 15th straight win with a victory over the budding #25 Washington Huskies who arrive in Palo Alto without a conference loss.
Huskies v Cardinal
Venue/Stadium: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California
Time/Date: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2011
NFL Odds From: Betonline.com
Spread (ATS): Stanford -20.5
Despite the gap in their rankings, these two teams are actually pretty evenly matched. Both offensive units have been putting up huge numbers this season. The Huskies (5-1, 3-0) are scoring around 37 points per game (ppg), while the Cardinal are an astounding 45 ppg.
On the other side of the ball, both UW and Stanford (6-0, 4-0) have some pretty stingy defensive lines, too. Washington’s only been giving up 20 points a game, which is pretty impressive, except for the fact that Stanford’s D is only giving up 11 points a game.
When looking at quarterbacks, comparing even really good ones to Andrew Luck makes them pale in comparison. This season Luck’s already completed 129 of 181 for 1719 yards and 18 touchdowns. On top of that, he’s only thrown three picks and been sacked twice. The Cardinal have yet to trail an opponent at all this season, not even for a second.
In short, Luck and company are more than most teams can handle. But the Huskies are, arguably, the best team they’ve faced all year, and they’re definitely the first ranked team they’ve seen. But that shouldn’t intimidate Luck much, he’s 5-1 against ranked teams since he’s been at Stanford.
Washington quarterback Keith Price isn’t looked on as the next coming of Luck, but he compares favorably with the Stanford superstar in most categories and even better in others. After six starts, the Compton, California native is 118 of 170 for 1466 yards and 21 touchdowns. His completion rate is a spectacular 75 percent, while Luck is clocking a mere 71 percent completion rate.
The big question in this game is whether the high flying offensive play will be negated by the play of two very good defensive units.
Washington’s defense struggled a bit early in the season, but have been coming together nicely in recent outings. Two weeks ago they forced five turnovers against Utah and last week they held the Colorado Buffaloes to only 62 yards rushing.
Stanford’s speedy defense hasn’t given up more than 19 points in a single game all season long and that’s not likely to change much on Saturday. And Mr. Price had better rest his arm because the Cardinal simply don’t allow much movement on the ground. In their last two games their opponents have only run for a combined 108 yards.
Last year Stanford blew out the Huskies 41-0, so the Huskies are particularly motivated to serve up a little revenge. If Price can get some time in the pocket, there’s no reason to think he can’t keep this one competitive.
As of this week, the Cardinal are 6-0 ATS and the Huskies are 5-1. Considering the defensive strengths of both teams, that 60 point over could be a stretch.
Matt’s Prediction: Stanford 28-21