What to watch on Stanford's side of things:
1. Ty and Tyler. So far, this pair is the story of Stanford's season. And if they keep it up, there's reason to think that the Cardinal will go far. Montgomery and Gaffney have both registered excellent debuts to the 2013 season, and I'm curious to see if the Cardinal will continue to rely so heavily on the two of them for its offensive output. Both show no signs of slowing down, but I also think more people will touch the ball this Saturday.
2. The Return of Ryan Hewitt. Stanford's Swiss Army Knife of a fullback/H-back/tight end returns to the lineup in earnest this weekend, and that should spell good things for the Cardinal offense. Hewitt's presence in the lineup is a big reason why "Spider 2 Y Banana" is now a famous play, and I think Hewitt's return will also precipitate the incorporation of some plays that the Cardinal has not used up to this point in the 2013 season. Stanford has been using very basic plays for the last two weeks, and I think that will change this week, given Hewitt's versatility as a blocker and offensive weapon. Definitely expect Kelsey Young to hit a jet sweep at some point - Wisconsin ran that play for a touchdown a week ago.
3. Can the run defense bounce back? Stanford has hung its hat on stopping the run the last two years, but that hat was rudely removed by Army last Saturday. The Black Knights ran for 284 yards on the ground - the most since last year's Pac-12 championship against UCLA and the third-most rushing yards by a Cardinal opponent since 2009. (The leader: Oregon ran for 388(!) yards against the Cardinal in 2010.) Army did lead the nation in rushing a year ago thanks to its triple-option attack, but the Stanford run defense is undoubtedly looking to bounce back this week. Now that the Cardinal defense is missing Henry Anderson, Stanford will have to rise to the occasion to stop talented ASU back Marion Grice (679 yds, 11 TD in 2012).
What to watch on the ASU side of things:
1. Taylor Kelly's sizzling right arm. The junior quarterback made some tremendous throws on his way to passing for 352 yards against Wisconsin a week ago, and his arm should test the Stanford secondary. The Cardinal defense didn't see many passes a week ago, but the d-backs generally did a tremendous job of slowing down David Fales in game one - so this will be an important matchup to watch. The easiest way to stop Kelly may be for the front seven to knock him down before he can make his reads. Pay attention to how often the Cardinal decides to blitz Kelly and put the d-backs on an island.
2. Will Sutton eats men like you for breakfast. Sutton, a spry 6-foot-1, 288 pounds, is a force to be reckoned with along the defensive line. The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year had 63 tackles, 13 sacks, 23.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles a year ago, and he provides an immediate threat to a team with a new center. So far, Stanford's offensive line has been good-but-not-great, so it will have to elevate its play to keep Sutton form getting acquainted with Kevin Hogan. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinal shifting the line his way on pass protections, and I also wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinal pulls around David Yankey on run plays to take on Sutton 1-on-1.
3. Defensive wrinkles. The Sun Devils were lucky to escape last Saturday with a win (the ending is still too hard to explain) but they were also lucky to get to play a team that has an offensive attack very similar to Stanford's. The Badgers like to run the ball and they like to play with two or three tight ends, so the Sun Devils have essentially had two weeks of preparation to stop this offense. Generally, Arizona State did a good job to stop the Wisconsin offense last week, even though they did give up one 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the 2nd half. Kevin Hogan should provide more of a challenge through the air, but expect the Sun Devils to stack the box and challenge Stanford's run game.