Football predictions: Stanford vs. Washington State

Oct. 10, 2014, 12:47 a.m.

Washington State (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 25 Stanford (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12)

Michael Peterson: Stanford 31, Washington State 20

It was just two years ago that Washington State took Stanford down to the wire, with the Card needing a goal-line stand to avoid overtime in Stanford Stadium. Of course, last year Stanford rolled over the Cougars, so you never know what you’re going to get out of this matchup. This time around, Stanford faces a red-hot Wazzu offense fresh off a 59-point performance against Cal, though the Card will easily prove to have the toughest defense Washington State has faced all season. The Stanford offense will probably continue to look a little clumsy, but the win should come rather handily. A strong defensive performance will only be slightly marred by the Cougars tacking on late points to make the score appear closer than it actually was.

Winston Shi: Stanford 28, Washington State 14

Stanford’s pass rush is terrifying, but a pass rush can’t do much damage against a quick passing game. I believe in Stanford’s defense, however, and sacks or no sacks, the Cardinal will put a lid on explosive plays and slow the game down to their favored pace. Facing a defense that is not top-tier, the Cardinal offense should put some points up on the board as long as they don’t cough up the ball; to be quite frank, Stanford can likely out-talent the vast majority of its opposition, the Cougars included. This is a game that Stanford should be expected to win, and I think that Stanford will come away with the victory and some much-needed confidence.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 35, Washington State 10

If Stanford’s secondary was able to handle the fast passing game of Connor Halliday last season, I have zero doubts that it will be able to quench the red-hot Halliday and his Air Raid attack. The issue for me lies with the offense. Shaw said in his press conference that he wouldn’t try to attack Washington State through the air any more than usual and would just maintain his balance of run and pass, but I’d like to see the offense get back on track via Hogan’s arm more than anything else. Seeing as how Stanford’s passing attack has shifted from a play action-focused one to a more traditional one, Hogan quite frankly needs the experience against a weak pass defense to get back in his rhythm. We saw Wazzu muscle up against the run against Oregon and give about as much resistance as a sneeze to a good Cal passing attack. I think if Stanford commits to riding Air Hogan, the scoreboard and I will be happier than we would be after trying to force a balanced attack out of this offense.

Ashley Westhem: Stanford 27, Washington 14

After the hellacious weekend that both teams underwent last weekend, they’re either going to come in both emotionally and physically spent or motivated and thirsty for blood. For the sake of the fans, I hope it’s the latter because we haven’t seen that fire yet in the Card’s eyes since the loss to USC. If coming home after losing in the last minute to Notre Dame halfway across the country to play in the rain doesn’t spark some kind of determination for Stanford, I don’t know what will. All this being said, I’m going to be optimistic this week because the team has been verbally assaulted enough the past two weeks. The Cardinal defense will overpower the Cougars and the Cardinal offense will catch the Cougs’ defense off guard, winning back the crowd and the hearts of their fans (again). WSU QB Connor Halliday will be the Cougs’ only saving grace in this game, but the Card shut him down last year and will surely do so this time around. It might be a bit too ambitious to crown Stanford 18-point winners, as Vegas predicts, but this game certainly won’t be a nail-biter in the final minutes.

Michael Peterson is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat reporter for football, baseball and men’s soccer and also does play-by-play broadcasting of football and baseball for KZSU. Michael is a senior from Rancho Santa Margarita, California majoring in computer science. To contact him, please email him at mrpeters ‘at’

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