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Cardinal Cram Session: Stanford vs. Washington State

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Opening Number: 35.6, as in Stanford's average margin of victory this season. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 47-0 in the first quarter and its eight straight wins by at least 25 points dating back to last year is a conference first.

Key Players to Watch:

  • Griff Whalen, Stanford WR: Whalen had four catches for 92 yards in last week's win against Colorado after four quiet weeks. Can Andrew Luck's roommate put together back-to-back solid games?
  • Johnson Bademosi, Stanford CB: The Cougars boast one of the better passing attacks in the Pac-12 and haven't had much success running the ball, so Bademosi and the rest of the secondary will likely be busy. Stanford came away with its first interception of the season against Colorado. They'll have a good chance to snag a few more today.
  • Marquess Wilson, Washington State WR: The sophomore from Tulare, CA, is well on his way to surpassing the excellent numbers he posted as a freshman, which included a 150-yard game against Stanford. Wilson is averaging more than 20 yards per catch, has scored at least one touchdown in four of five games, and had 236 receiving yards in a loss against San Diego State. He's coming off a 10-catch, 88-yard performance against UCLA and needs to have a huge game if the Cougars are to hang with Stanford.
  • Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Washington State LB: One of the Cougars' most reliable defenders, Hoffman-Ellis leads the team in sacks (2), tackles (32), and tackles for loss (6). He's also returned an interception for a touchdown this year. Hoffman-Ellis will have his hands full against Stanford's high-powered offense, but he's always capable of a big play. The Cougars will need many of those.

Key Terms:

  • Tuel Time: Jeff Tuel has been cleared to play after missing the previous four games with a broken clavicle, but Paul Wulff hasn't disclosed whether he or Marshall "The Lobster" Lobbestael will get the start. The consensus on the Coug Center podcast seemed to be that Washington State has no chance to win if Lobbestael starts, but a super slim chance.
  • Homefield Advantage: The trip to Pullman is never an easy one. The Cougar faithful should be especially loud, with a top 10 opponent invading Martin Stadium and Washington State coming off three consecutive road games. It will be important for Stanford to get off to a fast start.
  • Test: When Duke qualifies as the best offense you've faced, you've played a pretty weak schedule. Such is the story for Stanford, which has breezed through the softer half of its schedule thus far. Things start to get a little tougher, particularly for the defense, today. Led by Chase Thomas, the Cardinal D has been stout, but the verdict is still out on just how good the defense really is. This is a chance to make a statement against a solid offense.
  • Where It All Began: Martin Stadium is where Andrew Luck made his first career start as a redshirt freshman in 2009. Luck finished with modest numbers -- 11-of-23 for 193 yards, 1 TD -- as Stanford cruised to a 39-13 win on the back of Toby Gerhart (121 rushing yards).

Additional Reading:

Closing Number: 61.80, as in the number of rushing yards Stanford has allowed per game, second-lowest in the country.

Prediction: Stanford 52, Washington State 17. Stanford has yet to put together a complete game offensively and I think this is the week that the Cardinal finally does. Vote for your prediction and feel free to leave a specific score in the comments. Go Stanford!