Unlike past years, this game won’t have an implication on the PAC-12 North title. The only implication this game has is whether or not either team improves their chances at making a bowl game. Both teams stand at 4-5, and both teams need a win.
Don’t let the Cougars’ five losses deceive you. They are still the same Mike Leach team that throws, throws again, and throws some more. Their quarterback, senior redshirt Anthony Gordon, leads the country in passing yards per game and passing touchdowns. He’ll be able to scorch a depleted Stanford secondary, which won’t have star cornerback Paulson Adebo available.
Washington State is going to put up points. They’ve scored over 30 points in every game except against Utah . Stanford will need to score at least 30 points to have a chance.
Luckily for Stanford, Davis Mills, the presumed Stanford starter at quarterback, is undefeated against Washington schools. Before getting hurt, Mills started to live up to the potential that made him a five-star quarterback recruit out of high school. Against the Huskies, he threw for 293 yards and a touchdown, and overall, throughout the season, he has completed 65 percent of his passes, five touchdowns, and thrown just one interception in 110 attempts.
Some would say he’s an upgrade over KJ Costello. Mills has thrown two less interceptions and averages 8.1 yards per pass compared to 6.2, which is a pretty substantial margin. Mills will have healthy options between Connor Wedington, Colby Parkinson, and Simi Fehoko, so I expect him to pick up where he left off versus the Huskies.
Washington State will (should) allow the Cardinal to score. Yes, Stanford could not score versus an even worse Colorado defense, but in my opinion, the Stanford offense runs better with Mills behind center. The Cougars allow almost 450 yards per game and about 30 points.
Ultimately, this game will be decided by David Shaw and Davis Mills. If Stanford can control the ball and extend drives, then I think they’ll leave Pullman with a win. If the offense plays like they did versus Colorado, they’ll get blown out.
I’m still holding out hope for a bowl game. I believe in Mills, and I think the Cardinal sneak by 34-31.
P.S. I was really, really wrong last week.