The Washington State Cougars headed into their Seattle showdown with the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal riding high on confidence. They had seemed to find some offensive rhythm in the two weeks prior and the defense was playing better than any WSU defense in recent memory. That, combined with some key players missing for Stanford, led the Cougs to feel confident that they would be able to hang with the Cardinal. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Almost immediately, Stanford began imposing their will with their size, strength and experience. They dominated along the offensive line, even without All-American David Yankey, and gave Kevin Hogan all the time in the world to pick apart the WSU secondary (who entered the game ranked No. 2 in pass defense in the country). He finished the day with a career-high 286 yards and three touchdowns, consistently torching the Cougs over the top in the passing game.
WSU’s offense, on the other hand, couldn’t do anything. After putting together a nice drive to tie the game 3-3 in the first quarter, Connor Halliday was harassed as the offensive line got pushed around and the Cougs’ offense stalled. The running game was once again non-existent and Halliday would finish the game in the locker room following a vicious hit that ended up in a pick-six for Stanford. Austin Apodaca finished the game and added a few late touchdown passes but had to be peeled off the ground on more than one occasion.
Wazzu may have thought they were on the verge of breaking into the ranks of the competitive realm of the Pac 12 ranks, but this game proves that they are still on the outside looking in. There is still a lot of work for the Cougs if they hope to hang with the conference’s best. For now, they are still getting blown off the field.