STANFORD — There are few benefits to playing on a Friday night with one less day of preparation and recovery. For Stanford at least, it’s one less day to dwell on a late loss at Washington State that dealt a blow to the Cardinal’s hope of winning a conference title.
With No. 9 Washington (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12, No. 9 CFP) coming to town to face Stanford (6-3, 5-2) Friday, there was little time this week to look back at all that went wrong against the Cougars.
“It’s the best team in the conference coming into our house,” coach David Shaw said. “We don’t have time to wallow. We don’t have time to lament about what happened last Saturday. We have to get ready to go.”
If the Cardinal are going to be able to bounce back, they will need to get a much more efficient performance on offense behind freshman quarterback K.J. Costello and hope Bryce Love is fully recovered from the sprained ankle that sidelined him for one game and limited him against the Cougars.
They also will need to play much better defensively than they did a year ago against the Huskies, when they fell behind 30-0 on the way to a 44-6 loss.
“All it does is just motivate you not to repeat that and come out stronger,” cornerback Quenton Meeks said. “We came out flat last year when we played them up there. They definitely wanted the game more than us. That’s what it came down to. We played flat and it showed in the results.”
Some other things to watch:
FRIGHTFUL FRIDAYS: Friday night road games haven’t been kind to the Pac-12’s top teams. USC had its hopes for an undefeated season dashed back in September when the Trojans lost on a short week at Washington State. The Cougars were bitten by the bug two weeks later in a 37-3 loss at Cal. Now the Huskies need to avoid the trap this week to keep hopes alive for a playoff bid.
“We all want to feel sorry for ourselves and can’t believe we’re having to do this. Then I look at the Seahawks and the (Cardinals) and I’m fine,” coach Chris Petersen said, referring to a Thursday night NFL game between Seattle and Arizona. “Those guys have it really tough. We tell our players that too.”
SLOW STARTS: If there is a criticism of Washington it’s the inability to get off to quick starts. In the past three games, Washington has not scored a touchdown in the first quarter and has scored just two first-quarter touchdowns in Pac-12 play. That’s a bit of nitpicking for an offense that is averaging nearly 39 points per game, but the Huskies have not jumped on teams from the outset and let them hang around.
BIG PLAYS: Long runs have been a big part of Love’s success this season. He has 10 of at least 50 yards this season, including at least one in every game he has played. That has helped him lead the nation in rushing at 182 yards per game. He’s about to face the best defense in the country at not allowing big plays.
Washington is the only team in the country that has yet to allow a play of at least 40 yards. The longest run allowed by Washington this season was a 29-yard run by Colorado quarterback Steven Montez. The longest pass was a 36-yard completion by Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins.