Stanford vs. Washington State prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in the game between the Cardinal and Cougars.
It’s tough to envision Stanford winning, based solely on account of their injuries. The offensive line is banged up, as is the receiving corps, and the secondary is paper thin. On even footing, Stanford would roll. However, with so much attrition – especially at the cornerback position – the Cardinal will be exploited by Luke Falk and the nation’s fifth-best passing attack.
I could watch Luke Falk and Gabe Marks play catch for hours. Those two are special together. But Christian McCaffrey is the best player in college football. Regardless of what Washington did to Stanford last week, McCaffrey is still the best player in the country — no disrespect to Lamar Jackson either. All Ryan Burns has to do is find a variety of ways to get McCaffrey the ball: outside zones, screens, toss cracks, drag routes, whatever. Just get No. 5 the ball and get the hell out of the way. Stanford wins a shootout with Wazzu.
Cardinal quarterback Ryan Burns has played very well stepping in for the departed Kevin Hogan this season, but Washington held him to 151 yards while sacking him six times last week. The Cougars won’t be able to present quite the same defensive nightmare. On the flip side, the Cardinal remain wounded on defense. I think this turns into a bit of a shootout, but David Shaw’s squad is not dropping two games in a row. Cardinal kicker Conrad Ukropina has made all six of his field goal attempts this season, while his counterpart on the Cougars, Erik Powell, has missed all four of his attempts. This could be the difference in the contest.
Stanford and running back Christian McCaffrey were humbled on Friday night against Washington. How do they respond? Well, it is going to take a defensive effort against a Cougar team that loves to spread the ball around. If Washington State had any sort of defense, this would be a close game. Unfortunately, Mike Leach’s teams have always defended as well as Atlantans against General Sherman. McCaffrey reminds us of why he’s one of the best players in the nation as the Cardinal roll.