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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.
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.
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.
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.
The ‘perfect player’ Owen Marecic made an impact right away for Stanford today, picking off the third play of the game. Jeff Tuel was leveled as he threw, causing the ball to hit Marecic in the numbers and giving Stanford excellent field position to start the game.
The Cougar defense held, after Andrew Luck missed a wide-open man, and forced a Cardinal field goal after Stanford had first and goal from inside the 10.
In Palo Alto, it’s 3-0 Cardinal early in the game.
Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu will miss today’s game against the Washington State Cougars with an injury. Owusu, a standout wide receiver for the Cardinal, missed practice this week but was thought to be a gametime decision. Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh plays injuries close to the vest, electing to keep the opponents guessing up until the last minute.
Without Owusu, Andrew Luck loses one of his biggest weapons in the passing game and the Cardinal lose a great weapon in the return game.
Stanford and Washington State are kicking it off now in Palo Alto, under cloudy skies and slight rain.
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.
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.
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
SB Nation’s CougCenter has wall-to-wall coverage ahead of this weekend’s game against the Stanford Cardinal. Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal come into the game with a reputation as a smash-mouth team that isn’t afraid to hit hard and often. Between star quarterback Andrew Luck — seen here on video hammering USC safety Shareece Wright — and two-way star Owen Marecic, Stanford has plenty of weapons.
CougCenter’s Craig Powers looked at the stats.
In 2009, the Stanford offense relied heavily on Toby Gerhart and rode him to the 10th best offensive S&P in the country, led by the 8th ranked rushing attack. With Gerhart gone in 2010 and a year of experience from Andrew Luck, Stanford now possesses the second best passing S&P and are tops in the nation on passing downs.
In an interview with SB Nation’s Rule Of Tree, Jeff Nusser asked about the love for linebacker/fullback Owen Marecic.
Rule Of Tree: If Marecic wasn’t worthy of a 900-word tribute before the season began, he justified at least a 450-word tribute by scoring touchdowns on offense and defense in the span of 13 seconds the week that he was featured in SI. His celebrity has faded somewhat in the weeks since that rare feat, but he’s continued to be a key contributor at both fullback and linebacker. So long as this team keeps winning, the bromances will continue to spread.
Finally, Grady Clapp rounds out the coverage with his Tailgater’s Guide To Cougar Football. Clapp is conflicted about the Stanford game, noting how likable the Cardinal are.
I’m conflicted about Stanford as an opponent (and a soon-to-be division rival). I like them, in part because I’m jealous of people who go to Stanford and harbor some regrets about not applying there. I visited their campus for the first time a few weeks ago. It was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, the grass was perfectly manicured and there were a number of foreign tourists (tourists!) wandering the campus like I was doing.
With David Gonzales out for the season with a fractured forearm, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff made some changes to the offensive line ahead of this weekend’s game against Stanford. After tinkering with the line early in the week, Wulff settled on a grouping and will keep it the same for Saturday’s game. True freshman John Fullington will have to grow up on the fly, protecting quarterback Jeff Tuel’s blindside at left tackle.
The Spokesman-Reviews Vince Grippi noted the changes in his report from Pullman tonight.
As for Wednesday, the offensive line we relayed yesterday, with John Fullington at left tackle and Micah Hannam on the right side, with all the inside guys the same, will be the starting group Saturday, Wulff confirmed.
Fullington impressed in camp and earned a spot in the rotation, even starting last weekend in place of injured Micah Hannam. The freshman has struggled at times while adjust to the speed of the college game, but will play a vital role against the physical Cardinal front seven. One mistake and it could spell serious trouble for Tuel and the Cougars.
The Washington State Cougars hung with another top 20 team last weekend in Pullman before falling to the Arizona Wildcats, 24-7. Next up for the Cougars is 12th-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto.
Mistakes were the name of the game for Washington State last weekend, with a multitude of mental errors killing any chance the Cougars had of taking out the Wildcats. With Nick Foles injured in the first half, the Cougs had plenty of chances, but couldn't seize the momentum.
In a game with so many swings, WSU made too many mistakes to win the ballgame. Nearly every time they were on the verge of seizing the momentum, a mistake or turnover gave the game right back to Arizona.
After weeks of watching the offense steadily improve, it was the defense's turn this week. The offense took a step back, but the defense took a big step forward, holding there own against an Arizona offense with plenty of weapons, even without Foles.
Washington State comes into the Stanford game banged up after taking a pounding against Oregon and Arizona. The Cougs lost two more starters against the Wildcats, both with likely season-ending injuries. Offensive lineman David Gonzales broke his forearm and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Freshman cornerback Damante Horton also partially tore some knee ligaments and will likely sit out the rest of the year.
Against a physical Stanford team, the banged-up Cougars face a real test. At CougCenter, Jeff Nusser wonders if this is the week Washington State takes a real step backwards.
This will be the third consecutive matchup for WSU against teams currently ranked in the top 15. That they've been able to play Oregon and Arizona so tough -- not perfect, but tough -- is a testament to the preparation of the players and the coaching staff. But it's rare that any team can stay up for every game of a three-game gauntlet such as this, and with the first two coming at home, one has to wonder if this is the one where the Cougs lose a little focus and it truly blows up on them.
Because of the injuries, head coach Paul Wulff made some changes this week. Players were shuffling around to fill-in the gaps left by players who will be out. The Spokesman-Review's Vince Grippi laid out the changes on his blog last night.
Tight end Skylar Stormo, who hasn't seen much time with the offensive using spread sets most of the time, moved to right tackle and will be prepared for an emergency if needed, Wulff said. That was one of many changes to the offensive line made in the wake of David Gonzales' broken arm. The first group including freshman John Fullington at left tackle and Micah Hannam (concussion), sporting a yellow jersey for the first time in his career, back at right tackle. The second group has Wade Jacobson at left tackle, Andrew Roxas at left guard and Stormo at right tackle.
Grippi also noted Arthur Burns moved from linebacker to running back, Sekope Kaufusi moved from middle linebacker to outside linebacker and freshman C.J. Mizell was back from suspension and working at middle linebacker.
Mizell, a talented freshman, was forced to sit out last weekend against Arizona due to a violation of team rules. He's struggled with practice and maturity this year, forcing the coaches to come down hard in an effort to keep him on the right path.
Mizell will miss today's game as he deals with personal problems, according to the school. Best as I can figure out the young man is homesick and struggling with all that being thousands of miles from home entails.
He's back at practice so it sounds like everything is a go for him, barring a setback this week.
The Cougars have looked better in recent weeks, putting up a fight for a half against Oregon and staying within striking distance of Arizona for much of the game. Still, the Cardinal should have a field day against the nation's worst defense on Homecoming.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is a handful for any team and the Cougars will be no exception. The redshirt sophomore is widely regarded as the most complete quarterback in the Pac-10 and is a big reason Stanford sits at 12th in the first BCS rankings.
Any doubts about whether Andrew Luck could keep the offense clicking without No. 7 in the backfield have been erased. The redshirt sophomore has already surpassed his passing TD total from last season, and with 16 through 6 games, he's on pace to break the school's single season record of 27. That mark is currently shared by John Elway (1980) and Steve Stenstrom (1993). While Stanford's rushing production has been identical to last year's squad through 6 games--a testament to the Cardinal's dominant offensive line and the emergence of Stepfan Taylor--Luck is averaging nearly 70 yards more passing per game.
The Cougars are in for a fight this weekend as they take on the Stanford Cardinal at 2 p.m. on Fox College Sports.
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