Cardinal primed to bounce back against Cougs
Coming off its worst defeat of the David Shaw era, will No. 15 Stanford be able to handle Washington State tonight?
The two Pac-12 rivals meet at 10:30 p.m. ET, with Palo Alto serving as the backdrop. Online sports book BetDSI currently lists the Cardinal as a 7-point favorite over Mike Leach’s squad. The over/under is 56.
In a shocking turn of events last Friday, Washington hammered Stanford 44-6. Not only did running back Christian McCaffrey get held to a meager 49 years on 12 carries, the Cardinal committed a pair of costly turnovers. As a result, the Huskies moved to the head of the North Division class.
This evening, expect Shaw to emphasize the importance of returning to basics. That means a heavy dose of McCaffrey, who finished second on the 2015 Heisman ballot. If No. 5 reverts to his usual form, it also puts quarterback Ryan Burns’ more at ease. Kevin Hogan’s successor has thrown for 546 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in four starts.
As for the Cougars, they’re flying high following a 51-33 defeat of Oregon. WSU rolled up 651 total yards in that affair. Leach particular loves to utilize a trio of rushers – James Williams, Gerard Wicks and James Morrow – to wear down formidable defensive units of Stanford’s magnitude.
Nearly 12 months ago, the Cardinal pulled out a 30-28 victory in Pullman. Here, however, we expect Shaw’s troops to use the Washington setback as a real wake-up call. With McCaffrey leading the way, the host squad should pull away in the second half.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: STANFORD -7