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Keys to the game: Stanford at Washington State

Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:48 pm
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Posted by Bryan Fischer

STANFORD WILL WIN IF: They come out and execute like they have been for the past several years. They have the country's best quarterback in Andrew Luck and the conference's toughest defense (just 10.6 points per game allowed) so this should be a relatively easy road trip for the Cardinal. Head coach David Shaw will likely want to establish the running game this week after tilting heavily in favor of the pass last week against Colorado. The question probably isn't if Stanford will win, but by how much.

WASHINGTON STATE WILL WIN IF: If they force turnovers. A lot of turnovers. The Cougars are an improved squad with a good offense but they are not close to an elite, top 10 team like Stanford. Anything could happen up in the Palouse but there will have to be a few breaks for Paul Wulff's squad. Marshall Lobbestael is in-line to get another start unless former starter Jeff Tuel is healthy enough to take over. The offensive line will have their hands full with a Cardinal defense that leads the Pac-12 in sacks at nearly three per game.

X-FACTOR: Andrew Luck getting hurt. And even then, that might not be enough for Washington State to pull off the big upset. Stanford is looking for some style points after slipping in the polls to Wisconsin and would like to push the margin of victory up. The Cardinal trailed off in the second half last year and didn't blowout the Cougs at home so staying healthy and pulling away are two priorities this week.
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