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October 4, 2013
If Washington is to knock off Stanford for a second consecutive year, and this time on the road, it will take a herculean effort in all three phases of the game.
Stanford is outscoring opponents 41.3-19.5 on the season. But the ominous fact is that the Cardinal appear to be getting much stronger. David Shaw's squad was methodical in 34-13 and 34-20 wins over San Jose State and Army, but they have turned it up to another level in a two touchdown win over Arizona State and most recently a 55-17 victory over Washington State.
It's not a surprise that Stanford has nearly doubled their opponents' rushing total for the year. The Cardinal is averaging 5.32 yards per carry, compared to 3.47 for their opponents. And Stanford is attempting about ten more rush attempts per game.
Senior running backs Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson each bring something to the table and have combined for nearly 600 rushing yards through four games.
Opponents have put the ball in the air 175 times against Stanford, compared to 121 rushes. That's a product of Stanford making their opponents one dimensional, but also shows what happens when you're forced to play from behind. More evidence of this: Opposing offenses have stayed on the field 13 times on fourth down plays.
Much is always made of third down conversion statistics. Rightfully so, as a defense getting off the field and an offense staying on it. Stanford excels on both sides of the ball in this area. The offense moves the chains 57-percent of the time on third down, and the defense gets off the field 70-percent of the time in those same situations.
Junior quarterback Kevin Hogan isn't going to sling the ball around the field as frequently as some of the nation's other top quarterbacks but his 174.58 efficiency rating ranks first in the Pac-12. Yards per attempt is a very telling statistic when measuring the quality and efficiency of a team's passing game and Hogan is averaging 9.6 yards every time he brings his arm back to throw.
Interestingly Keith Price is second in the league when it comes to passing efficiency, so this game pits the conference's top two quarterbacks to date in the season against one another.
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