Cougars Close Strong But Fall To Stanford, 38-28

A banged up Washington State Cougar team (1-6) takes on the physical Stanford Cardinal (5-1) this weekend in Palo Alto at 2 p.m. on Fox College Sports. For everything Cougars, check out SB Nation's CougCenter.

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Recap: Luck, Stanford Too Much For WSU, Cardinal Win 38-28

Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) – Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, leading the 12th-ranked Stanford Cardinal to a 38-28 victory over Washington State in Pac-10 action.

Andrew Luck completed 20-of-28 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for the Cardinal (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10), who have won six of their first seven games for the first time since 1970. Ryan Whalen, Doug Baldwin and Coby Fleener had a touchdown catch apiece in the win.

“This was a good football team we played, and we did more things right than they did and won the ball game,” said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. “(I’m) always happy for a win, especially in the conference. There’s some things we’re going to have to address and get better at.”

Jeff Tuel threw for four touchdowns and 298 yards on 21-of-28 efficiency for the Cougars (1-7, 0-5), who have lost 16 straight to FBS opponents — all by 10 points or more. Marquess Wilson had six catches for 150 yards and a score, Jared Karstetter recorded nine receptions for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Marcus Richmond also caught a scoring pass.

Stanford took the lead off a turnover within three minutes of the game’s beginning and never trailed.

Tuel was intercepted on his second pass attempt, giving the Cardinal possession on the opposing seven-yard line. The hosts couldn’t find the end zone, however, and settled for Nate Whitaker’s 21-yard field goal.

Washington State punted near midfield on its next touch, and Stanford responded with an 80-yard, 13-play drive to grab a 10-0 lead. Luck kept the series moving with a 10-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10 from his own 31, then found Whalen from seven yards out on 3rd-and-goal with 4 1/2 minutes still remaining in the first quarter.

The Cougars got on the board early in the second quarter after Kevin Kooyman intercepted a Luck pass. Tuel moved Washington State 58 yards in eight plays and hit Karstetter for a 12-yard touchdown with 10 minutes until halftime.

Stanford restored its 10-point lead quickly, as Taylor accounted for 51 yards on a 73-yard drive, finishing the series with a six-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 17-7 game.

The Cardinal got one last possession in the first half with 2:48 left and drove all the way to the end zone. Aided by multiple personal fouls called on the Washington State defense, Stanford led, 24-7, at halftime after Taylor ran in from one yard away with under a minute to go.

The margin increased toward the end of the third, when a Taylor Skaufel interception led to Stanford’s 12-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 17- yard touchdown pass from Luck to Baldwin.

Tuel threw a trio of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to Richmond, Karstetter and Wilson, respectively, around Luck’s scoring toss to Fleener. Washington State never put together a serious rally, though, as the final pass to Wilson created a 10-point game with 35 seconds to play.

Game Notes

Each of Washington State’s last 30 losses have come by 10 points or more…Stanford leads the all-time series, 35-25-1, including five of the last seven meetings…The Cougars have lost 16 straight road games…The Cardinal controlled the clock, holding the ball for 37 minutes, 51 seconds…Whitaker is 11-for-11 on field goal attempts this season and has made 16 straight overall…Tuel was intercepted twice in the game.

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Cougars Close The Gap Late Before Falling To Stanford, 38-28

The Washington State Cougars made a late run at the Stanford Cardinals before falling in the end, 38-28. On the back of Jeff Tuel and his wide receivers in the fourth quarter, the Cougars scored 21 points and made it a game, but couldn’t dig out of the hole they created in the first half.

Tuel had another big game through the air, throwing for 297 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. The mistakes by the offense, however, were costly. Tuel’s two interceptions and a costly case of fumblitis by the running backs hurt the Cougs in the first half and gave Stanford all the advantage they needed.

Marquess Wilson had another standout day for Washington State, catching six balls for 150 yards and a touchdown. Jared Karstetter also had a big game, reeling in nine catches for 101 yards and two scores. The passing game was all the Cougars had, however. The Washington State running backs racked up 90 yards on 23 carries and couldn’t get much going on the ground.

The Cardinal were led, once again, by Andrew Luck. Only having to throw on occasion, Luck passed for 190 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Stanford did their damage on the ground, rushing for 249 yards and two scores. Stepfan Taylor paced the Stanford backs with 142 yards and both touchdowns.

Washington State finally ends its run of games against top-20 teams next week as they travel to Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils.

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Stanford Rolling At The Half, Leads WSU 24-7

The Washington State Cougars can’t stop the run again this week and Stanford is powering the ball up and down the field thus far in Palo Alto. Behind two fumbles — by James Montgomery and Logwone Mitz — and an interception, the Cougar offense hasn’t done itself any favors, giving Stanford a short field and stalling any potential drives in the first half. Stanford has taken advantage, utilizing a power running game and relying on Andrew Luck’s accurate arm when necessary to beat the Cougars into submission.

The Cougars made it close, bringing the score to 10-7 on a Jeff Tuel pass to Jared Karstetter, but it was all Cardinal after that. Stefan Taylor rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Luck threw for 117 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

Stanford rushed for 152 yards as a team in the first half and show no sign of slowing down.

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Stanford-WSU Final Injury Report

ESPN’s Ted Miller has the final injury report for all the Pac-10 games today up on his blog. Stanford and WSU come into the game banged up, with a fair amount of players listed on the injury report. The Cougars are in a worse situation, with three players out — including David Gonzales and Damante Horton.

S Chima Nwachukwa, hamstring, out
OT David Gonzales, arm, out
CB Damante Horton, Knee, out
LB Mike Ledgerwood, neck, doubtful
OT Micah Hannam, concussion, probable
WR Jeffrey Solomon, knee, questionable
LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis, back, probable

Chima Nwachukwu is still dealing with a bad hamstring that’s kept him out of action for at least three weeks. Ledgerwood returned to practice this week, but is stuck behind freshman C.J. Mizell and redshirt freshman Sekope Kaufusi at middle linebacker.

Jeffrey Solomon was still on crutches last week and is recovering from a partially torn ACL. Though he’s listed as questionable, it’s more than likely he is out.

On the Stanford side, a pair of critical wide receivers are on the injury report, though both should play today.

RB Tyler Gaffney, leg, questionable
RB Jeremy Stewart, ankle, questionable
WR Chris Owusu, knee, questionable
SS Delano Howell, undisclosed, questionable
WR Ryan Whalen, elbow, probable

Five skill position players on offense isn’t good, so we’ll see who can go. Owusu and Whalen both see significant time in the rotation and give Andrew Luck solid targets in the passing game.

The Cougars and Cardinal kick it off at 2 p.m. on Fox College Sports.

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Preview: WSU Travels To Stanford To Face Andrew Luck And The Cardinal

The Sports Network

By Ralph Lauro, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The 12th-ranked Stanford Cardinal return to action this weekend to host the Washington State Cougars in a Pac-10 bout at Stanford Stadium.

The Cardinal were idle this past week, as the team earned some much needed rest following a dramatic last-second 37-35 victory over USC back on October 9th. It was a nice bounce back for Stanford, which had dropped a 52-31 decision to now top-ranked Oregon the prior week. The Cardinal now sit at a healthy 5-1 overall and are still a major player in the Pac-10.

At the opposite end is WSU, which is once again the conference doormat. The Cougars have suffered all six of their losses by double figures and they have dropped each of their past five outings, including a 24-7 setback at nationally-ranked Arizona this past weekend.

“I thought our effort was good,” stated Paul Wulff, who is obviously trying to remain optimistic. “Two weeks in a row we have played a very good football team. We have to keep fighting and compete.”

The Cougars are now 0-4 in the Pac-10 and things aren’t about to get any easier this weekend against Stanford, which owns a 34-25-1 lead in the all- time series following a 39-13 victory in last season’s meeting.

WSU simply couldn’t get going on offense last weekend, as the team managed only 297 total yards and one TD in a loss to Arizona. Furthermore, the Cougars turned the ball over four times and allowed seven sacks as well. The team has now surrendered 29 sacks already and that is simply an astonishing number.

Jeff Tuel has taken nearly every snap, so he has obviously been battered this season. Last weekend, Tuel threw for 257 yards with one TD and two INTs. Despite the consistent pressure. Tuel has held his own, throwing for 1,735 yards with 10 TDs and seven INTs.

Marquess Wilson is Tuel’s favorite target, as he tops the squad with 35 catches and 646 receiving yards. He was effective last weekend, snaring six balls for 131 yards and a TD.

The Cougars have really been exploited on the defensive side of the ball this season, allowing 40.1 ppg and 493.9 total ypg. The unit has surrendered 236.0 ypg and 19 TDs on the ground, while allowing opponents to complete nearly 67 percent of pass attempts.

Last weekend, WSU wasn’t all that bad on defense, but that was largely due to Arizona’s starting QB being knocked from the game early in the second quarter. The Cougars limited Arizona to 352 total yards, while tallying six sacks. Travis Long was one of three players with a pair of sacks in the defeat and he paces WSU with eight TFLs and four sacks for the year.

Nate Whitaker missed an important extra-point midway through the fourth quarter, but atoned for his mistake with a 30-yard field as time expired to lift Stanford to a 37-35 win over USC.

The kick was set up by a seven-play, 62-drive that was led by QB Andrew Luck, who finished the game with 285 yards and three TDs on an efficient 20-of-24 passing.

“People that have doubted Andrew Luck do not know football,” Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. “What more can a quarterback do in a game?”

Luck has been just terrific for the Cardinal this season, completing 65.7 percent of his tosses for 1,538 yards with 16 TDs and four INTs. He is also dangerous with his legs, ranking second on the team with 242 yards and two TDs on the ground.

Doug Baldwin leads the WRs with 23 catches for 353 yards and five TDs, while Stepfan Taylor paces the ground attack, which is averaging 210.5 ypg, with 482 yards and three scores. Both were effective against USC, as Baldwin reeled in eight passes for 98 yards and two scores, while Taylor rushed for 104 yards and a TD on 23 carries.

The Cardinal defense got off to a fast start, but has struggled over the last two games, allowing a combined 87 points to Oregon and USC. Last game, Stanford was shredded for 498 total yards by USC, which gained 390 of those yards and three TDs through the air.

Both the run and pass defense are a concern right now for the Cardinal, as the team is giving up 157.2 ypg on the ground and 200.8 ypg through the air. The unit has recorded 13 takeaways and 15 sacks, so that has helped balance some of the yards surrendered. Chase Thomas, who had five stops last game, has done a little of everything for this unit, posting 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an INT.

Stanford is the clear choice in this one and it should have no trouble in what will likely end up being a rout of WSU this weekend.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 44, Washington State 14

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