Regardless of a valiant effort from the underdog Cardinal (2-6, 1-5 Pac-12), the undefeated Washington Huskies (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) staved off Stanford in a 42-33 win. The Huskies stay in prime competition for the faculty soccer playoffs.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns to steer the Huskies. On the opposite aspect, sophomore quarterback Ashton Daniels had 367 passing yards and 81 speeding yards to steer Stanford.
Regardless of the loss, Stanford displayed their enchancment as a group all through the season on Saturday, giving No. 5 Washington a scare till the top. With this sport within the books, Stanford has now appeared to determine itself out, and now has a transparent offensive identification. However that doesn’t imply the Washington sport didn’t expose sure areas of enchancment for the Cardinal.
Stanford discovers an offensive identification
Via September, it appeared that the Cardinal have been nonetheless trying to find an identification on offense. The group was nonetheless rotating between Daniels and sophomore quarterback Justin Lamson on a constant foundation. No person had emerged as a No. 1 possibility on the surface. The month of October has resolved these questions, with Daniels solidifying himself because the starter and as sophomore receiver Elic Ayomanor and freshman receiver Tiger Bachmeier showcase their expertise on the perimeter.
Washington typically ran two-high security shells through the first half to stop massive passing performs, forcing Stanford to march down the sector methodically. The Cardinal have been simply efficient sufficient at operating the ball to pressure Washington to creep the sturdy security within the field. At different occasions, Washington’s safeties had sufficient depth, however weren’t in place to offer protection help. From there, Daniels started profiting from one-on-one matchups to the surface, permitting Bachmeier and Ayomanor to make use of their measurement in opposition to the Husky cornerbacks.
Going ahead, it appears the Stanford offense will search for these one-on-one matchups extra typically or attempt to manipulate coverages to create these alternatives.
Passing protection wants enchancment
It’s a arduous job to ask any defensive unit to cowl Washington’s receiving core. Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan will all probably be chosen inside the prime three rounds of the NFL draft every time they declare. Penix Jr. will probably be a primary spherical decide within the upcoming 2024 draft. Whereas Stanford’s protection held Penix Jr. to a pedestrian 55% completion proportion, there have been a number of protection busts that allowed the Huskies to straightforward factors on the board.
In the course of the 92-yard landing move from Washington that made it a 21-7 sport, sophomore cornerback Colin Wright misplaced his toes to permit Polk to streak broad open into the top zone. If Wright stays on his toes, it’s probably only a move interference and the Cardinal would nonetheless have a chance to get the Huskies off the sector. At different occasions, the protection appeared to interrupt, like when Washington tight finish Devin Culp walked into the top zone untouched within the 4th quarter. Among the massive performs have been inevitable: with Stanford’s cowl three match zone, cowl three can simply flip into cowl one. This implies there can’t be security assist supplied for all receivers.
All through many of the sport, the move protection performed comparatively effectively, forcing Penix Jr. to throw into tighter home windows than regular. But when the Cardinal have been in a position to cease taking pictures themselves within the foot on a few of these massive move performs, the sport may have swayed within the Cardinal’s favor.
Ashton Daniels’s enchancment
Daniels got here a great distance from his early season struggles. In two of the final three video games, the six-foot-two quarterback from Buford, Ga. has tallied over 365 yards. Furthermore, he has proven wonderful pocket consciousness, understanding the place the defensive strain is coming from and taking off simply because the pocket is about to break down. This can be a 180 diploma turnaround from his play early within the 12 months, when he was extra hesitant to scramble, probably as a result of damage he suffered in opposition to USC.
There may also be no accusation this time round that Daniels was bailed out by Ayomanor, as Bachmeier, sophomore tight finish Sam Roush and 5 different receivers had receptions as effectively. Daniels engineered two extra landing drives with out Ayomanor within the sport, who exited within the second half with a shoulder damage.
Daniels’s enchancment is actually a testomony to go coach Troy Taylor’s improvement and adaptability with regard to scheme. Taylor desires to run what works together with his present personnel and the offensive enchancment is tangible proof of that.
Stanford will tackle Washington State (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) subsequent on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Pullman, Wash. This can be a likelihood for the Cardinal to take one other Pac-12 win house to Palo Alto, because the Cougars dropped 4 straight video games after beginning the season 4-0. Kickoff is scheduled for six p.m. PT.