Saturday, October 11, 2014
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Stanford grinds out win over Washington State

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[October 11, 2014]  STANFORD, Calif. -- The No. 25 Stanford Cardinal were not perfect in their 34-17 victory over the Washington State Cougars on Friday night, but they were a lot more like what coach David Shaw had in mind for this team.

"Tonight was the first time we played like us, where it felt like us," Shaw said.

The Cardinal (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) could have made it a blowout if they had not wasted several scoring opportunities. But they moved the ball consistently and slowed the Cougars' vaunted passing game.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, who set an FBS record with 734 passing yards a week ago against Cal and entered Friday's game leading the nation in passing yards per game, attempted 69 passes, completing 42 of them for 292 yards, well below his average of 508.7 yards per game.

"We really don't consider our defense the same as defenses he's been torching," said Stanford defensive tackle David Parry, who had a sacks and five quarterback hurries.

Halliday threw two touchdown passes and one interception as Washington State dropped to 2-5 overall, 1-3 in the Pac-12.

Halliday seldom had time to throw deep ball, as Stanford sacked him four times and hurried him eight other times.

"That's just a really good defensive front," Halliday said. "It was nothing our offensive line did wrong. It limits what we can do. They kind of dictated the way it was going to be played."

Stanford free safety Zach Hoffpauir had 15 tackles, the most in a game by a Cardinal player this season.

"We played really, really smart defensively," Shaw said, "and getting pressure up front with (only) four linemen helps."

Halliday seldom had time to throw deep ball, as Stanford, which led the nation in scoring defense heading into this weekend, sacked him four times and hurried him eight other times.

"That's just a really good defensive front," Halliday said. "It was nothing our offensive line did wrong. It limits what we can do. They kind of dictated the way it was going to be played."

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan was 23-for-35 for 284 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Remound Wright had 98 rushing yards and a touchdown as Stanford finally got its running game going, rushing for 193 yards.

Stanford outgained the Cougars 477-266, and Washington State had minus-26 yards on the ground. But Stanford wasted several scoring chances.

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Wide receiver Devon Cajuste dropped what would have been a touchdown pass on Stanford's first possession, when it settled for a field goal. In the second quarter, Cardinal running back Patrick Skov fumbled the ball away at the Washington State 1-yard line. On its next possession, Stanford was hit with holding penalties on consecutive plays before kicker Jordan Williamson missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the first half. Early in the third quarter, a 35-yard touchdown pass to Cardinal wide receiver Ty Montgomery was negated by an illegal-shift penalty.

Nonetheless, Stanford led 17-7 at that point, but a 46-yard field goal by Washington State's Quentin Breshears reduced the margin to 17-10 midway through the third quarter.

Stanford increased the lead to 24-10 on Hogan's 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Toboada. But a 3-yard scoring pass from Halliday to wide receiver River Cracraft early in the fourth quarter made it a 24-17 game.

A 34-yard Williamson field goal gave Stanford a 27-17 lead at the 8:13 mark of the fourth quarter, and the Cardinal added a touchdown with 1:38 left on Wright's 6-yard scoring run.

"We're on the brink of doing a lot of good things, no doubt about it," Cougars coach Mike Leach said. "We've got to play a whole game. It was going to be physical and nasty, and Stanford had the luxury of playing a lot of players."

Montgomery had seven catches for 72 yards and a 49-yard punt return that set up Stanford's second touchdown.

 


Cracraft had 15 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

NOTES: Washington State CB Charleston White was helped off the field early in the third quarter after he and a teammate had a helmet-to-helmet collision. But coach Mike Leach said he was OK.... Stanford WR Devon Cajuste stumbled off the field in the fourth quarter after being knocked woozy. ... Stanford LB James Vaughters left the game with an upper-body injury. Coach David Shaw said both players will be evaluated over the weekend. ... Stanford wore all-black uniforms for the fifth time in history, and it won all four of the previous games.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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