By PAC-12 standards, heck by all standards, everyone involved in this game knew it was a big one. With both Rose Bowl and conference championship hopes on the line, it was the #14 Washington State Cougars (7-1 / 4-1 PAC 12) that made all the clutch plays down the stretch versus the #24 Cardinal (5-3 / 3-2 PAC 12).
WSU senior quarterback Gardner Minshew (40 for 50 passing / 438 yards / 3 TD’s / 87.7 QBR) continued to look like the college version of Drew Brees Saturday night, dicing up the Cardinal D on The Farm, especially in the 2nd half. Though from a much smaller sample size of course, the Brees comparison does everything to properly explain how Minshew looks behind center in ’18.
Washington State junior wide receiver Dezmon Patmon (10 receptions / 127 yards / 12.7 YPR), the pride and joy of Patrick Henry High School, was his QB’s favorite target all night long. In that regard, he delivered.
For Stanford on the other hand this was a home game that they absolutely needed, that they had in the palm of their hands, and that they let get away in painful fashion. In an always tight PAC-12 Conference, quite simply, these are the games you have to win.
Cardinal junior quarterback K.J. Costello (34 for 43 passing / 323 yards / 4 TD’s / 87.2 QBR) played well for three and a half quarters, as did the entire offense. Along those lines, it was the defense, or lack thereof, that truly earned this loss for The Card.
Senior wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (10 receptions / 111 yards / 2 TD’s / 11.1 YPR) was another bright spot for Stanford Saturday evening, and his NFL draft stock seems to be skyrocketing weekly. Likewise, junior tight end Kaden Smith (9 receptions / 112 yards / 1 TD / 12.4 YPR) is becoming well known as one of the best in the country at his position, and will also be suiting up on Sundays very soon.
Defensively for Washington State, linebackers senior Peyton Pelluer (7 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL / 1 PD) and sophomore Jahad Woods (7 tackles / 1 PD / 1 QBH) were impact players from sideline to sideline in this contest. Equally, WSU junior cornerback Marcus Strong (4 tackles / 3 PD) made some key plays on the back end for his side.
For Stanford, this loss unfortunately ends their chances of making a significant Bowl Game, while the now #10 Washington State Cougars have a won themselves a small chance to make the college football playoff. What a crazy week this turned out to be for the PAC-12, then again, I feel that way almost every week.
Things do not get any easier for Stanford (5-3), as they travel north to Seattle to play a Washington (6-3) team also coming off a devastating loss. Separately, #10 WSU (7-1) goes south to Berkeley to take on CAL (5-3), the proud creators of the Huskies devastation.
However it plays out, one thing is for sure, nothing is more unpredictable than the glory of college football. As always, win or lose, Roll Red.