Stanford’s physical defense knocked out two Washington State quarterbacks on back-to-back series in the third quarter as the No. 5 Cardinal crushed the Cougars in rainy Seattle, 55-17.
Washington State came into the game with a new-found reputation for being physical on both sides of the ball. The Cardinal soon showed the Cougars just what that word means.
Stanford’s modest 17-3 lead expanded rapidly in that third stanza when linebacker Trent Murphy nailed WSU quarterback Connor Halliday as he threw, which resulted in a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Jordan Richards.
Suddenly it was 24-3.
Halliday left the game and was replaced by freshman Austin Apodaca, who was promptly laid out by linebacker Kevin Anderson on a third down pass attempt. Apodaca left the game briefly while WSU punted, then Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan threw his third touchdown pass to make the score, 31-3. Apodaca returned on the next series just in time to throw a pick six to Murphy.
That made it 38-3. Game over.
Hogan faced no such pressure and he calmly carved up the WSU defense, going 16 of 25 for 286 yards with touchdown passes of 57, 33 and 45 yards. With the Cardinal’s recent corps of talented tight ends now in the NFL, the Stanford offense has now become more vertical, with receivers like Devon Cajuste and Michael Rector routinely getting behind the Cougars secondary for big plays.
It was a dominant effort for Stanford, which rolled up 560 yards of total offense while holding WSU to 373 (much of it in garbage time).
For the Cougars, it’s a stark reminder of how far they have to go before they can be competitive against top-flight Pac-12 competition. For the Cardinal, it was another chance to get playing time for its reserves, including one Barry Sanders, Jr., who scored his first career touchdown.