It’s a little odd to think that in last year’s 17-13 win over then 7th ranked Stanford, the Washington offensive line played tremendously bad. If anyone else saw that game, it was clear that Keith Price was sprinting away from Stanford Linebackers the whole game. I still don’t know how Sankey ended up with 144 yards, I guess we just have to give that to him. But this year, The Huskies don’t have the fortune of counting on holding the Cardinal offense to six points. Kevin Hogan is a more than capable quarterback, and even if he isn’t spectacular he is good enough to make defenses pay when they don’t respect the passing game (looking at you Cougars).
But even with Hogan, I think our defense will actually do fine. They look spectacular against the pass, and if we bring in Tutogi like we did last year I think we will be able to slow down Stanford’s rushing attack, which has lost key offensive personnel including RB Taylor, TEs Ertz and Toilolo, and C Schwartzstein. With our improved defense, I think we can hold Stanford under four touchdowns. What does that mean? Our offense needs to put up four touchdowns. That is no easy task against this Stanford defense. However, we have the talent and the depth to do it.
Sankey is an All-American caliber back, I believe Price has played as well as any other QB in the nation so far, and our receivers have been a pleasant surprise, as we’ve seen huge production out of Mickens, Smith, and Ross, three guys most were very unsure about. So what’s left? The offensive line. I believe this game will be decided by how well our offensive line plays. Can they open holes for Sankey? Can they hold the Stanford defensive line when Price is looking to make a play downfield? Can they get away from their recent trend of accruing massive amounts of penalty yardage? They need to step up against one of the best defensive fronts in college football and hold their own, at least. Nobody is expecting them to blow the Cardinal off the ball, there are certain NFL teams who likely couldn’t accomplish that. They need to stand their ground, that’s all. Stanford beat Oregon last year because they penetrated the backfield quickly and basically dismantled the Ducks’ offense. The Huskies cannot afford for that to happen. Our linemen are far more talented, more experienced, and more mentally tough than they were last year, and it has to show up in Palo Alto on Saturday. They are the key to a Husky victory.