Five Things The Huskies Must Do Against Stanford

Last weekend, the Washington Huskies faced a familiar foe in the USC Trojans and were able to earn their first conference win, with a 28-14 victory.

On the season, Washington is currently on a three-game winning streak and they seem to be improving rapidly each week.

The Huskies continued their fast starts out of the tunnel and jumped on the Trojans early, never looking back the entire game.

Defensively, the Huskies continue to improve and come up with timely turnovers.  They have recorded 8 takeaways in their past 3 games.

On offense, the running game continues to be a huge factor in the Huskies success, and they are getting it done by committee.

The Stanford Cardinal are currently 2-3 (1-2) on the season, and last week they squeaked out a 31-28 win on the road at Oregon State.

While Stanford sports a losing a record on the season, there is no doubt that they will be as physical as always, which is their identity.

“Just their style is different, certainly on offense.  They are a multiple tight end team, always have been. A lot of checks. Slow the game down. Not a tempo team. So you get less plays. So you’ve got to be efficient with your drives and all those types of things. So I always think about this. You’ve got three days to prepare for this team, three real practice days,”  Washington head coach Chris Petersen said.

The Cardinal are entering the game with uncertainty at quarterback, with senior K.J. Costello‘s status being unknown.  In his absence, junior quarterback Davis Mills has filled in and been very productive for Stanford.

Here are some keys to the game, the Huskies must do in order to put themselves in a good position to win this game…..

Avoid The “Trap Game” Scenario

Conventional wisdom says the Huskies should win this game comfortably after comparing records and stats, but college football doesn’t work that way.  This game sets up as a “classic” trap game for the Huskies and they must make sure that they don’t fall into that scenario.  After coming off a big conference win against the USC Trojans and traveling to play an opponent who has struggled, it will be easy to overlook the Cardinal.  With the Oregon Ducks game looming in the near future, the Huskies must not look ahead and take care of business down on “The Farm”.  Playing at Stanford Stadium is always a tough task for any opponent and the Cardinal will no doubt be ready for the Huskies.  As Petersen always says, “it’s about us” and not who we are playing.  This week is no different!

Speed Up The Tempo

When looking at Stanford’s offense and their style of play, they like to slow things down a lot and lull you to sleep.  With getting a lesser amount of plays during the game, the Cardinal like to beat you with precision and execution.  Whenever the opportunity permits, the Huskies need to speed the game up and find a way to play the game at their pace.  On offense, the Huskies have found success this season when they have gone uptempo on offense and not let the defense get set or substitute.  If the Huskies can get Stanford playing at a pace that is faster than they are used to, it will force the Cardinal into making mistakes.  When this happens..advantage Huskies!  The Husky defense will need to make Stanford feel the pressure and rush their offensive sets and plays, to have success.

Match The “Physicality” Of Stanford

One thing that stands out about playing the Stanford Cardinal is their physicality on both sides of the ball.  Traditionally through the years, the Cardinal like to impose their will on their opponents and intimidate them with their physicality.  This year’s matchup will not be any different and the Huskies will need to be ready to match that with some nastiness of their own.  Washington will have to show Stanford right from the start that they are the more “physical” team.  The “trench war” is where this game will be won and last.  The Huskies will need to be stout and aggressive at the point of attack.  They will need to get off blocks and push somebody off the ball.  The best way to beat the “bully” is to be the “bully” yourself.  It’s time for the Huskies to show Stanford who is boss!

Disrupt Stanford Tight End Colby Parkinson

Earlier this week, Petersen made a statement about Stanford that really stuck out.  “The tight end is..I don’t know how to stop him. He caught a bunch of balls off us last year. He’s doing the same stuff. You just give him a chance at 6-7 and he’s going to make plays.  Petersen was referring to 6 foot 7 inch junior tight end Colby Parkinson.  When looking at the film of the Stanford offense, Parkinson literally stands out because you can’t miss him.  He passes the eye test!  Stanford likes to run a bunch of multiple tight end sets and the top target on that list is Parkinson.  The Huskies will need to find a way to disrupt him in the passing game, and not be an impact on the game.  Marking Parkinson on 3rd and 4th downs will be critical for the Husky defense to get off the field regularly.

Eliminate The “Late Night Game” Lull

One thing that gets commonly overlooked is the fact that we are mostly dealing with 18-22 year olds when it comes to college football.  The Huskies are not only playing on the road but they will be kicking off at a very late start time.  It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset of being lethargic with sitting around and waiting all day to play on the road.  Most teams are already not happy with the realization of returning home at the insanely early hours of the morning.  The Huskies must block out all the mental distractions and be ready to play right from the start.  They must not get caught up in the “lag” that comes with these late starts and avoid coming out flat.  They must gear their minds all day long and continue their trend of fast starts in first quarters to set the tone early on the road!


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