A Pac-12 showdown between the Stanford Cardinal and Washington State Cougars takes center stage at Martin Stadium on Saturday. With last season’s game getting canceled, you’d have to go all the way back to 2019 for the last time these two teams lined up across from one another with the Cardinal being handed a 49-22 loss by Washington State. Stanford is coming into this game off a loss to the No. 22-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils, while the Cougars have put together back-to-back wins over Oregon State and California.
McKee hoping to put meltdown in the rearviewStanford didn’t give themselves much of a chance to beat Arizona State with Tanner McKee’s three interceptions thrown in that game. They were the only three picks he’s thrown all season long. So I wouldn’t hit the panic button heading into Saturday’s game against Washington State.
The Cougars are allowing an average of 230.5 passing yards per game this season, but they’ve also poked away seven interceptions through six games. If McKee isn’t careful, it could turn into a déjà vu situation on the road.
The team is hopeful they’ll have wideout Brycen Tremayne (knee) back on the field in this game, but his status remains questionable. Running the football would also help, but the Cardinal haven’t been able to get their ground game going consistently. Perhaps this is the week for Nathaniel Peat and company to make some noise against a shoddy Washington State defensive front.
Washington State has a knack for turning the ball over in games. So the offense for Stanford could have multiple short-field situations if the defense makes plays in this game. I obviously wouldn’t hold my breath with opposing teams averaging 408.2 total yards per game against the unit.
It doesn’t help that safety Noah Williams (questionable) could miss this game with an injury.
Can the Cougars avoid turnovers?Washington State has a chance to come away with an upset if they can avoid the backbreaking turnovers that make coaches want to break clipboards. They’re currently tied with Arizona for the most interceptions (9) thrown in the Pac-12 Conference so far this season. You’re literally sitting, waiting and watching for them to throw the game away.
That can’t be allowed to happen on Saturday.
Jayden de Laura needs to be careful with his ball placement in an effort to not make Tanner McKee’s job any easier on the other side. The Washington State defense has enough problems to worry about than being thrown on a shortened field.
They haven’t been able to stop a cold this season, but they may not have to if the offense wins big. Washington State has plenty of offensive weapons for de Laura with Calvin Jackson Jr. and Travell Harris at receiver. The duo will have to fight hard to find opportunities to make plays against a Stanford defense that has been stingy against the pass.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Jayden de Laura and the Cougars are obviously gaining steam, but Stanford is the more battle-tested team with four of their six games coming against ranked opposition. The Cardinal are 2-2 in those meetings with wins over Oregon and USC.
Washington State’s secondary is living on takeaways, but Tanner McKee has already seen it all this season having faced the likes of UCLA and Arizona State. Stanford is averaging 254.2 passing yards per game with 7.8 yards per attempt. Washington State’s ability to stop big plays is a concern heading into this game with their defense giving up the longest scrimmage yard plays in the conference. A good way to lose at home is blown defensive assignments.
The Cougars have also struggled to protect their quarterback with teams averaging three sacks per game against them. Stanford isn’t blowing anyone away with their defensive front, but they should be able to get home against this Cougars offense on more than one occasion. That’ll lead to the inevitable turnover or two by de Laura.
I’m laying the points and taking Stanford on the road.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Cardinal will have to answer the call offensively to shake off a Washington State team that appears to be improving on a weekly basis. Jayden de Laura just hung 399 passing yards and three touchdowns on the Oregon State Beavers in his last outing. Stanford has been tough against the pass this season, but that doesn’t make them immune from the big-play capabilities of a Washington State team that’s averaging the third-most long scrimmage plays in the Pac-12 Conference. The Cougars aren’t afraid to let it fly on offense—and neither is Stanford. Give me the over in this one.