Regardless of a valiant effort from the underdog Cardinal (2-6, 1-5 Pac-12), the undefeated Washington Huskies (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) staved off Stanford in a 42-33 win. The Huskies stay in prime competition for the school soccer playoffs.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns to guide the Huskies. On the opposite facet, sophomore quarterback Ashton Daniels had 367 passing yards and 81 dashing yards to guide Stanford.
Regardless of the loss, Stanford displayed their enchancment as a crew all through the season on Saturday, giving No. 5 Washington a scare till the tip. With this sport within the books, Stanford has now appeared to determine itself out, and now has a transparent offensive id. However that doesn’t imply the Washington sport didn’t expose sure areas of enchancment for the Cardinal.
Stanford discovers an offensive id
By means of September, it appeared that the Cardinal had been nonetheless trying to find an id on offense. The crew was nonetheless rotating between Daniels and sophomore quarterback Justin Lamson on a constant foundation. No one had emerged as a No. 1 choice on the surface. The month of October has resolved these questions, with Daniels solidifying himself because the starter and as sophomore receiver Elic Ayomanor and freshman receiver Tiger Bachmeier showcase their abilities on the perimeter.
Washington typically ran two-high security shells in the course of the first half to forestall huge passing performs, forcing Stanford to march down the sector methodically. The Cardinal had been simply efficient sufficient at operating the ball to pressure Washington to creep the sturdy security within the field. At different occasions, Washington’s safeties had sufficient depth, however weren’t in place to supply protection help. From there, Daniels started benefiting from one-on-one matchups to the surface, permitting Bachmeier and Ayomanor to make use of their measurement in opposition to the Husky cornerbacks.
Going ahead, it appears the Stanford offense will search for these one-on-one matchups extra typically or attempt to manipulate coverages to create these alternatives.
Passing protection wants enchancment
It’s a arduous job to ask any defensive unit to cowl Washington’s receiving core. Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan will all seemingly be chosen throughout the high three rounds of the NFL draft each time they declare. Penix Jr. will seemingly be a primary spherical decide within the upcoming 2024 draft. Whereas Stanford’s protection held Penix Jr. to a pedestrian 55% completion proportion, there have been a number of protection busts that allowed the Huskies to straightforward factors on the board.
Through the 92-yard landing go from Washington that made it a 21-7 sport, sophomore cornerback Colin Wright misplaced his ft to permit Polk to streak vast open into the tip zone. If Wright stays on his ft, it’s seemingly only a go interference and the Cardinal would nonetheless have a possibility to get the Huskies off the sector. At different occasions, the protection appeared to interrupt, like when Washington tight finish Devin Culp walked into the tip zone untouched within the 4th quarter. A few of the huge performs had been inevitable: with Stanford’s cowl three match zone, cowl three can simply flip into cowl one. This implies there can’t be security assist offered for all receivers.
All through a lot of the sport, the go protection performed comparatively effectively, forcing Penix Jr. to throw into tighter home windows than regular. But when the Cardinal had been capable of cease taking pictures themselves within the foot on a few of these huge go performs, the sport may have swayed within the Cardinal’s favor.
Ashton Daniels’s enchancment
Daniels got here a good distance from his early season struggles. In two of the final three video games, the six-foot-two quarterback from Buford, Ga. has tallied over 365 yards. Furthermore, he has proven glorious pocket consciousness, understanding the place the defensive stress is coming from and taking off simply because the pocket is about to break down. This can be a 180 diploma turnaround from his play early within the 12 months, when he was extra hesitant to scramble, seemingly because of the damage he suffered in opposition to USC.
There can be no accusation this time round that Daniels was bailed out by Ayomanor, as Bachmeier, sophomore tight finish Sam Roush and 5 different receivers had receptions as effectively. Daniels engineered two extra landing drives with out Ayomanor within the sport, who exited within the second half with a shoulder damage.
Daniels’s enchancment is actually a testomony to move coach Troy Taylor’s growth and adaptability with reference to scheme. Taylor needs to run what works together with his present personnel and the offensive enchancment is tangible proof of that.
Stanford will tackle Washington State (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) subsequent on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Pullman, Wash. This can be a probability for the Cardinal to take one other Pac-12 win dwelling to Palo Alto, because the Cougars dropped 4 straight video games after beginning the season 4-0. Kickoff is scheduled for six p.m. PT.