Football predictions: Stanford at Arizona State

Oct. 17, 2014, 12:39 a.m.

No. 23 Stanford (4-2, 2-1) vs. No. 17 Arizona State (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) 

Michael Peterson: Stanford 35, Arizona State 28

As we at The Daily discussed in our roundtable earlier this week, it really does seem like the Cardinal are built to beat the Sun Devils. Considering now that Arizona State’s defense no longer possesses All-American tackle Will Sutton and eight other starters from last season, Stanford’s dominance against the Sun Devils (the Cardinal haven’t lost to ASU since 2008) appears primed to continue. I think Stanford’s offense finally breaks out in a big way with a five-touchdown performance against Arizona State, even without Devon Cajuste, sparking the most shootout-like game Stanford has experienced all season thanks to another strong outing in Tempe from Kevin Hogan (who went 12-for-18 with 277 passing yards in the Pac-12 championship last season). Like the Wazzu game, Stanford will maintain a fairly comfortable lead throughout. The defense will get pushed more than it has for much of the season, but like the first Stanford-ASU matchup from last year, many of the Sun Devils’ points will come late in a frantic but unsuccessful rally.

Winston Shi: Stanford 27, Arizona State 24

After losing nine starters on defense, Arizona State has done admirably well this season, especially in the absence of starting quarterback Taylor Kelly. The nation’s top offense in yards per play takes on Stanford’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense in a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game. No offense has cracked 20 points against Stanford all season: it’s a measure of my deep respect for the Sun Devils that I think that streak ends on Saturday. But Stanford’s defense will still win that particular battle. Equal talent on offense and defense favors the defense, because the defense doesn’t need to make forward progress in order to get the job done. In the end, seeing as Stanford matched up so well with the Sun Devils last year — beating them once in Stanford Stadium and once in Tempe — I think that the Cardinal will do enough on defense to win, and against a comparatively shaky ASU defense, the offense may well come back to life.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 21, Arizona State 14

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty surprised that Michael and Winston above me have ASU scoring 28 and 24, respectively. We’ve seen Stanford’s defense pound into submission all of the following: a talented, up-tempo, pro-style attack (USC); a fundamentally sound triple-option (Army); and of course, the Mike Leach Air Raid (WSU). It’s also done very well against up-tempo option run teams like Oregon and ASU in the last few years. I don’t see why this matchup should be any different, especially without the experience of Taylor Kelly at signal-caller for ASU. I’m not sold on the offense yet and it’s a work in progress, but Arizona State doesn’t exactly bring a stout defense to the table, either. I expect the run game to keep the momentum going (ASU ranks 103rd of 128 FBS teams with 207 rush yards allowed per game) and Hogan should be able to find his receivers in mismatches to keep the chains moving and take some deep shots instead of (gasp) trying to score from the red zone.

Ashley Westhem: Stanford 24, Arizona State 20

For Stanford to pull out a close win (I’m predicting this one to be a nailbiter all the way through, similar to the Notre Dame but ending in Stanford’s favor this time), it needs to execute and be detail oriented. Last year the offensive line had false starts against the Sun Devils and this season, the offensive line has plagued the Card with penalties, something that Stanford has never been known for in the recent past. Focusing on execution and maybe even playing it safe might be to Stanford’s benefit. The Sun Devils will be ready, especially coming off of an epic last minute win at USC and returning home after a bye week. (Although home field advantage has seemingly become worthless, as travelling teams are 14-4 in the Pac-12 so far this season.) Arizona State has a stellar offense, as evidenced by backup quarterback Berkovici pulling the team up from nine points behind USC in the last minutes of play, recording 510 pass yards, five touchdowns and no picks in just his second career start. But Stanford has a stellar defense, which ranks second in the nation in total defense, allowing just 238 yards per game, and is first in points allowed at just 10 per game. This game could go either way, but how does that old saying go? Oh, right, defense wins games.

George Chen: Stanford 30, Arizona State 20

I thought about pulling a Chantel Jennings by “pick[ing] ASU because no one else did,” but I don’t get paid enough to provide such a great and insightful justification. Stanford’s offense probably won’t be putting up 40 points this weekend, but the performance against Washington State showed that the squad is improving, even if it’s just baby steps. If Kevin Hogan makes reasonable decisions, the receivers don’t drop too many balls and the coaching staff uses Christian McCaffrey more effectively, then that’ll be enough for the offense to secure the win against an inexperienced Sun Devils defense that’s somehow giving up 6.1 yards per play. As it should go without saying, Stanford’s defense will be stellar as usual — who plays quarterback for ASU is irrelevant.

Jordan Wallach: Stanford 21, Arizona State 17

I guess it will be another week of us unanimously picking Stanford, a dangerous proposition lest we forget what happened the last time our football writers predicted the outcome of a road game. As I discussed in the roundtable earlier this week, the Cardinal have been built to beat the Sun Devils for years, last dropping a game to ASU in 2009. But this season, Stanford’s offensive line and running game — usually the team’s go-to against a weak Sun Devil front seven — is ranked 85th in the nation with just 150.33 rushing yards per game. However, although the Cardinal offense is still looking for consistency, the strength of their defense — which held Wazzu’s much vaunted Air Raid to a season-low 282 passing yards — should hold up even if Taylor Kelly makes his long-awaited return for the Sun Devils. Look for Stanford to pull out a ‘W’ after a defensive stand late in the fourth.

Jordan Wallach is a Senior Staff Writer at The Stanford Daily. He was previously the Managing Editor of Sports, a sports desk editor for two volumes and he continues to work as a beat writer for Stanford's baseball, football and women's volleyball teams. Jordan is a junior from New York City majoring in Mathematical and Computational Science. To contact him, please send him an email at jwallach 'at'

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