An early lead in the Pac-12 North is at stake as the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal hosts the No. 15 Washington Huskies on Saturday night at Stanford Stadium.
Averaging more than 41 points a game, the undefeated Cardinal have gone largely uncontested in their first four games of the season, including a 55-17 rout of Washington State a week ago. That’s a far cry compared to last year’s squad, which managed to score more than 20 points in eight of 13 games.
Under junior quarterback Kevin Hogan, the Cardinal offense has hummed. He’s first in the Pac-12 in passer rating (174.6), and tied for fourth with 10 passing touchdowns. Almost half those scores have gone to receiver Ty Montgomery, a junior receiver who’s caught 20 balls for 327 yards and four touchdowns.
The Huskies are hoping to start 5-0 for the first time in more than 20 years, and beat Stanford in back-to-back seasons. Last season, Washington kept the Stanford offense out of the endzone in a 17-13 victory.
Washington's early success comes from a top-notche rushing attack, and a dominating defense. The focal point of the Huskie offense is Washington running back Bishop Shankey, who leads the country with 151.8 yards per game. But Washington’s biggest strength comes on the defensive side of the ball.
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Surrendering a measly 10.8 points per game, the Huskies are 13th in total defense in the country, and 3.4 yards per rush. Junior defensive ends Hau’oli Kikaha and Josh Shirley are tied for the team lead with 3.0 sacks, and senior linebacker Princeton Fuimaono has totaled a Huskie-high 30 tackles.
Last week against a talented Arizona squad, Shankey converted 40 carries into 161 yards and a touchdown, and Marcus Peters and Sean Parker each had an interception in the 31-13 win.
The game kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by ESPN, or watch a live online stream at Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Stanford favored by 7.5 points.
Over/Under: 52 points.
Prediction: Stanford 27, Washington 24