Posted by Jerry Hinnen
STANFORD WON: So much for the Cardinal getting their first test of the year. Andrew Luck barely had to break a sweat (16-of-22, 169 yards, 2 touchdowns) as the Cardinal rampaged to 247 first-half rushing yards, a 38-14 halftime lead, and their 10th straight win by 25 points or better--the first such streak in Division I college football since 1936. Cardinal tailbacks Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney combined for 245 yards on just 19 carries, averaging an eye-popping timeouts 12.9 yards an attempt, and leading the Cardinal to a school-record 446 rushing yards.
WHY STANFORD WON: We mentioned the 247 first-half rushing yards and bulldozer job from Taylor and Gaffney, right? It's hard to lose with production in the ground game like that, and essentially impossible when that production is backed up by a passing game managed by Luck. If the Cardinal offensive line -- spearheaded by one surefire All-American in guard David DeCastro and potentially another in tackle Jonathan Martin -- isn't already considered one of the best if not the best in the nation, running for 446 yards against a top-25 defense that was averaging less than 100 yards allowed per-game should change that in a frightful hurry.
But that shouldn't totally obscure the effort made by the Stanford defense. Chris Polk broke loose for a pair of long first-half Huskie touchdowns, the latter a 61-yard burst that cut an early Stanford lead to 17-14. But the Huskies wouldn't score again until early in the fourth quarter (by which point the score was 48-14, and during which span the Cardinal D had outscored the Huskies 7-0), the Cardinal would finish the night up 3-0 in turnover margin, and after collecting more than 100 yards in the first two quarters Polk would finish with just 144.
WHEN STANFORD WON: Speaking of "outscoring the Huskies 7-0," Huskies were already in a 31-14 hole when they drove to the Stanford 38 and faced 2nd-and-1. Polk was stuffed for a loss of 3, setting up 3rd-and-4 ... on which Keith Price's pass was intercepted by Michael Thomas and housed. The Huskies went into halftime down 38-14, and were never, ever, ever going to mount that kind of comeback.
WHAT STANFORD WON: With Wisconsin going down in East Lansing and Oklahoma in legitimate trouble against Texas Tech as we type this, the Cardinal look more the part of a national title contender than ever before ... and a 44-point bludgeoning of a one-loss, top-25 team is a big, big part of that.
WHAT WASHINGTON LOST: Any real hope of winning the inaugural Pac-12 North, since the odds of the Cardinal dropping two league games while the Huskies run the table seems slim indeed.