The Week 6 slate of the college football schedule offers a couple showdowns of ranked opponents.
One of those contests will be when the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal hosts the No. 15 Washington Huskies.
The Huskies have had a resurgent year so far with big time wins over, at the time, ranked Boise State, Illinois and Arizona.
The Huskies will have even a big step up in competition when they travel to face the Cardinal of Stanford.
The Stanford Cardinal have been a well-oiled machine so far in 2013. Stanford are coming off a beat down of Washington State in which they scored 55 points on the Cougars in a 55-17 win.
The Cardinal are well known for their physical style of play in which they look to wear down their opponents as the game goes on. The Cardinal will also be stepping up in competition as they face the Huskies and have to deal with Huskies' quarterback, Keith Price.
Price has had a huge bounce back season so far in 2013. Price in 2012 completed 60 percent of his passes and threw for 2,726 yards. The Huskies finished with a 7-6 record last year and much of the blame was placed on Price’s shoulders.
This year Price has been electric as he led the way to victory over Boise State to start the season. Price has kept his interceptions down this season and with a win over No. 5 Stanford he may creep into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
The Cardinal will have to deal with Price if they want to limit the Huskies chance of winning. The Cardinal suffered one of their two losses last year to these very Washington Huskies last year. The Huskies upset, at the time, No. 8 Stanford 17-13 last year and proved to be the biggest win of the season for Washington in 2012. To recapture that magic this year in Stanford, Price will have to have a career game with little to no mistakes at all.
The Cardinal have a great leader and quarterback of their own in Kevin Hogan. Hogan is 9-0 since becoming the starter at Stanford last season. His football intelligence and game managing style fits right into what the Stanford Cardinal are looking to do. Hogan uses the right blend of his running game along with the short passing game to his tight ends and wide outs.
The key to this game will be how the Washington offense is able to move the ball on that tough Stanford defense. The Cardinal will look to make Price beat them with the passing game and limit his running opportunities. Price has proven that he can win using his arm, but he is at his best when he can escape the pocket and pick up some yards with his legs. I believe Price will find it difficult to get any rhythm going against this Cardinal defense in either the running or passing game.
The use of the Cardinal’s most explosive wide receiver Ty Montgomery is key in how they attack teams. He is used more in the deep go route patterns and if Washington has trouble covering him, then it could be a long night for the Huskies.
Montgomery helps open up the Stanford offense unlike they have been able to do dating back to the Andrew Luck era. I feel Montgomery will be the one key offensive player that determines not only how well they do Saturday against Washington, but as Stanford moves forward chasing a PAC 12 and national title.
This game should be a pretty exciting game as PAC 12 games always seem to be on late Saturday nights. The Huskies could really shake up the rankings with a win over top five Stanford and it would be a program defining win in the Steve Sarkisian era at Washington. Stanford will look to get revenge for the tough loss last year to the Huskies and keep their national title hopes alive with another week.
The beauty of college football is that games like this just a month into the season have the feel of a playoff game that can make or break an entire season in terms of national relevance. Stanford has not forgotten about last year and will be sure to not let what happen last year happen again. The Cardinal should be in good shape with this game considering they don’t have a letdown of any sorts that is so common in today’s game of college football.
My final prediction on this contest is that I see Stanford getting revenge on the Huskies and winning in grand style. I believe Price will be shut down by a tough; physical defense in Stanford and disrupt his timing in the passing game and limit his running opportunities.
I feel Stanford will make up for what happened last year and wear down Washington with a tough running game and the occasional deep pass to Montgomery. The final outcome is Stanford defeats the Washington Huskies 38-21.
The Cardinal will make a surge in the second half and pull away with a bruising style of defense as we are accustomed to seeing from Stanford. The Cardinal keep their national title hopes alive for another week as we near the midway point of the 2013 season.