Stanford vs. Washington State Football Preview 2011

This week, the Stanford Cardinal play the Cougars at Washington State. Washington State is currently 3-2. They are coming off a close 28-25 loss to UCLA in their previous game.

  1. Quarterback Battle – When quarterback Jeff Tuel went down for the Cougars, backup Marshall Lobbestael stepped and played admirably. Though Tuel was cleared, current reports say that Lobbestael will likely still start in the game against Stanford as Tuel continues to get ready. Lobbestael has had a good season so far. He has thrown 15 touchdowns and only four picks. With their spread offense, they have been able to move the ball and score effectively. Through five games, their offense gains about 500 yards and generates 40 points per game.

  2. **The Problem with Numbers **– The Cougars stats, however, are inflated due to the fact that they have yet to play a team as talented as Stanford. The Cougars had close games against UCLA and Colorado, two teams which Stanford blew out easily. Also, Washington State has allowed Lobbestael to be sacked 12 times. Though the team has been gaining yards, their quarterback has been taking some shots.

  3. Defensive Matchup – The Cougars have already shown they have some problem protecting their quarterback. A spread defense will be a match up problem. However, Stanford has a definitive advantage at the line of scrimmage. The front seven will likely get one-on-one battles against the Washington State line. The Stanford secondary will not need to completely shut down receivers. They just need to keep with the receivers until the rush gets there. Linebacker Chase Thomas will be given plenty of opportunities to blitz Lobbestael.

  4. Bend but not Break – The Stanford defense has done a great job this year in the red zone. Even when teams have been able to move the ball against them, they still make enough plays to either limit their points. Playing against a spread team, the offense will likely have some big plays but Stanford’s defense will have some big plays of their own.

  5. **Luck and the Offense **– Washington State has had a couple shootouts. Their team strength is their offense. Stanford’s run first mentality will wear down the Cougar defense just like it has everyone else this year. In order to keep up with Stanford, Washington State would likely have to score on virtually every drive or somehow stifle this offense. Neither of those scenarios seems particularly likely.

Washington State will put some points but not enough to win. Expect another high scoring effort from Stanford and another win.

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