UW Husky Preview: Dawgs take on Stanford

The hits keep on coming for the University of Washington Huskies as they travel to Palo Alto to take on the Stanford Cardinal. David Shaw’s crew is 5-1 and 4-0 in P12 play.

Since a tough loss due to a stuttering offense in the the season opener, Stanford has been playing at a high level and putting up big time points. The #10 ranked Cardinal is averaging an impressive 48.5 in their conferences games.

After a heart breaking loss to Oregon, the Huskies face another large obstacle in the form of the Stanford squad. Oh…and Jake Browning may or may not play. If the true Freshman QB can’t play on Saturday, expect a platoon of KJ Carta-Samuels and Jeff Lindquist.

Cardinal Offense

Sophomore RB Christian McCaffrey has quietly become one of the better P12 offensive players. The son of former great Denver Bronco WR Ed McCaffrey, Christian absolutely destroyed UCLA last week, and has run for 605 yards over his last 3 games. McCaffrey is deservedly beginning to be mentioned as a Heisman hopeful.

Stanford spreads the ball around in the passing game with 4 players in double digit receptions. Senior WR (and Gig Harbor native) Michael Rector is the best receiver for Stanford and is capable of making big plays down the sideline. Francis Owusu won’t get a lot of catches, but he’ll make them count. Expect him to test the UW secondary.

It seems that Kevin Hogan has been the starting QB forever. The Senior QB doesn’t throw the ball a lot, but he has been incredibly, and boringly, efficient this season. Hogan is the consummate game manager, but he can still put on numbers if given enough time. Time to call up some creative Husky blitzes.

Cardinal Defense

This is the usual well-coached and physical Stanford defense. The Cardinal has a tough and deep front 7. Their DL is not as big as in years past, but the talent and technique is still there. They will make life tough for the UW OL.

Blake Martinez is the leader of the talented LB crew and the Cardinal defense. The talented ILB is the leading tackler and a NFL prospect. Martinez has great instincts and is constantly around the ball, so we’ll hear his name a lot Saturday.

Stanford’s secondary doesn’t have any star players, but are experienced and big. They are not afraid to play physical and jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Jaydon Mickens will need to battle all game long just to get open.

Cardinal Intangibles

David Shaw. You say he’s not a very good coach and is living off the program that Harbaugh built? Well, you’re wrong. Shaw does not have the sexy offense of Oregon or the recruiting classes of USC or UCLA, but the boring Stanford HC always has his teams ready to play. Saturday will be no different.up

For the Huskies to win, they need to:

Stop the run. Stanford’s running game opens up the play action, where Hogan has been deadly this season. Keeping the Stanford offense in a lot of 3rd and long situations will be crucial for UW.

SSU Prediction

The Dawgs aren’t afraid of playing in Palo Alto. Most teams aren’t. It’s not exactly an intimidating stadium to play in. It’s not the environment that makes Stanford tough to beat, it’s their running game and defense.

Although UW is able to keep this close for most of the game, the undersized Husky defense gives up too many big plays in the running game to pull off the upset.

Follow me at @SSU_BrentG on twitter

Broadcast

Saturday, October 24 @ 7:30 pm (PST) on ESPN.

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