Coming off its bye week, Stanford welcomes Pac-10 cellar dweller Washington State to Stanford Stadium on Homecoming.
Opening Number: 120
As in the rank, out of 120 FBS schools, of Washington State's defense. The Cougars are allowing 494 yards per game. By comparison, Stanford is allowing 358.
Players to Watch
Marquess Wilson, Washington St. WR: Wilson has been the biggest beneficiary of the coaching staff's decision to loosen the reins on sophomore quarterback Tuel this season. The Tulare, Calif. native is rewriting the school record book for freshman wide receivers in Pullman. Wilson has four 100-yard receiving games this season, including last week against Arizona, but has yet to top the century mark in back-to-back games.
Deone Bucannon, Washington St. S: Bucannon, another one of the Cougars' talented youngsters, set a Washington State freshman record with 14 solo tackles against the Wildcats.
Stepfan Taylor, Stanford RB: Taylor, a.k.a S.T. Mode, is poised to join Darrin Nelson, Tommy Vardell, and Toby Gerhart as the only Stanford running backs to rush for at least 100 yards in four consecutive games. Taylor is averaging as many yards rushing per game (80) as Washington State.
Brian Bulcke, Stanford DE: The fifth-year senior, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2010 Canadian Football League draft, could have a career day while working against a Washington State offensive line that has allowed 29 sacks this season.
"Perfect" -- Jim Harbaugh has used the word to describe Owen Marecic, his wife, and Andrew Luck this season. Who might draw similar praise after Saturday's game? Nate Whitaker? Stepfan Taylor? Daniel Zychlinski is the best type of punter in the sense that he's rarely needed, no?
"Style Points" -- Oregon certainly put on a good show for a national audience last night in its 60-13 win over UCLA. It will take a similarly lopsided score for Stanford to impress the AP poll voters, most of whom will only see highlights of the game.
- "Inclement Weather" -- The forecast calls for rain. That could spell trouble for Washington State given its inability to run the ball.
"Homecoming" -- It's reunion weekend on the Farm and I'll be in attendance. I'll have a GameThread as usual and will be providing additional commentary via Twitter (@RuleofTree). You can follow me by clicking here.
Additional Reading (For You Dedicated Students):
- The Daily Axe predicts Stanford will have no trouble moving the ball en route to an easy victory.
- Coug Center previews Saturday's game.
- Jim Harbaugh says that Washington State reminds him a lot of Stanford not too long ago.
- Sports Illustrated named Owen Marecic a mid-season All-America.
- A couple of fun facts from the Mercury News: The Cougars are trying to snap a 13-game losing streak against Pac-10 opponents, while Stanford is looking to start 6-1 for the first time since 1970.
- ESPN's Ted Miller at least likes the Cougars to cover the 34.5 point spread.
Closing Number: 16
As in the number of Stanford players who have scored a touchdown this season. It's a good bet that that number grows tomorrow.
Prediction: Stanford 56, Washington State 20. I think Andrew Luck will have an effective, but relatively quiet day, as Stepfan Taylor and a second running back--Anthony Wilkerson or Tyler Gaffney, if he's healthy enough to play--both eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark against the Cougars.