A Perfect Throw Puts Card Up At Half, 17-7

Hogan struggled in half, but connected on a bomb

Stanford leads 17-7 at the half after a busy second quarter. Jordan Williamson connected from 33 and Kevin Hogan found Ty Montgomery on a picture-perfect bomb. But Washington ran a hurry-up drive to perfection to stay within striking distance, and their defense shut down the Cardinal attack much of the quarter as well.

The opening snap of the second quarter is a big one: a third down in the UW red zone. Again, however, Kevin Hogan is inaccurate, this time firing too hard, too far outside and too low to Tyler Gaffney, similar to a poor throw to Kodi Whitfield on a first-quarter third down. Still, Jordan Williamson is true from 33, and Stanford leads 10-0 moments into the second quarter.

Stanford 10, Washington 0, 14:51 remaining, second quarter

Washington's offensive possession is much the same as before. The Huskies look scary, but they shoot themselves in the foot and then stall on third down. This time, Keith Price gave himself up too early on a second and nine scramble. Had he fought through contact, I thought he had a first down, but at a minimum, the Huskies would have simply needed to fall forward less than a yard to move the chains. Instead, Price slides into a third and three, Kevin Smith juggles away the third down pass, and it's another UW punt.

The Huskies are 0-of-3 on third downs. Of course, Stanford's 1-of-5 is nothing to write home about either, but in a defensive stalemate, Stanford's 10 special-teams points are the difference maker.

Elsewhere, Northwestern and Ohio State are going down to the wire, with the Buckeyes leading by four but the Wildcats with the ball late in Evanston. Of course, the No. 4 Buckeyes are just ahead of Stanford in the polls. Personally, I'm hoping for OSU, Clemson and Alabama losses, so that Stanford-Oregon is No. 1 vs. No. 2, but I suppose we should focus on the task at hand. Speaking of…

Stanford has all of one first down before they punt again, though they do get a personal foul on UW on the return. Hogan is having his worst half yet as a Stanford starter, both to the eye, and statistically as well: 4-of-9 for 18 yards and an interception midway through the second quarter. Luckily for the Cardinal, however, the consequences are minimal, because…

Washington yet again stalls themselves. Stop me if you've heard this before. (Actually, don't, otherwise I'd have nothing to blog.) This time, after the personal foul on the punt return, the Huskies false start twice on the same series. They gained 14 yards on the series, but needed 20 thanks to the flags, and on comes the punt squad. The cherry on top is that Washington nearly got penalized for kick catch interference, but the refs took mercy and waved off that flag. Washington has 64 penalty yards to 95 total yards. I can't count this quickly enough in real time, but I'd guess three of their five drives have stalled because of penalty yardage (i.e., the Huskies had a first down wiped out by a flag, or would have gained first down yardage, if not for a previous flag).

The next series sees much of the same from Stanford as well: one first down, and then Hogan inaccuracy contributing to a stall. This time, the first down came on two Wilkerson runs, and then Stanford eats a delay of game to put Hogan in a passing situation. He is high though to Ty Montgomery, who juggles with a man in his face, and can't quite come down with a difficult ball about 20 yards downfield in the left flat.

Why are we punting from UW's 35? Ben Rhyne does well to angle and sky the kick and is a bit unlucky with the roll and it still dies at the UW 11. But still, that's a 24-yard punt. Would like to see us go for that, lack of success thus far notwithstanding.

Washington goes hurry up, in part because of the clock (4:25 at the start of the drive), in part because it's their base offense, and in part, I suspect, because it's working really well against a Stanford defense that is rushing guys off the field split-seconds before the snap. They are into the Stanford red zone, and after a Kevin Anderson late hit (questionable call, but Stanford has gotten most of the breaks thus far) on a sack of Price, UW will have first and goal from the seven with 1:08 to go in the half. Stanford has all three timeouts left, and I hope that the Card play for the last possession of the half here. (They could bust another big return, if nothing else, after all.)

Well, that consideration is moot, as Sankey runs in from seven yards out after a UW timeout. More on Stanford's struggles against the hurry-up offense in a second…

Stanford 10, Washington 7, 1:03 remaining, first half

The Huskies squib to Jackson Cummings, and Stanford will gladly accept Montgomery not getting a touch if they get to start at the 39 yard line every time. It's Luke Kaumatule short over the middle (why don't we use one of our three timeouts, ugh), and then a powerful Gaffney run to move the chains. Again events on the field render the clock moot, as Hogan throws a picture-perfect strike to Ty Montgomery streaking down the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. Montgomery bobbles, but it counts just the same. It's Stanford's sixth scoring drive of the season that takes under one minute, and, again, Hogan could not have thrown that any better. I don't know if Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman could have defended that, honestly. Okay, they probably could have prevented Montgomery from getting a free release, but once the ball was in the air, that was a perfect, outside shoulder throw, and Montgomery had maybe half a step, but when the ball is laid in perfectly, that's all he needs.

Stanford 17, Washington 7, 0:11 remaining, second quarter

The touchdown bomb is our play of the quarter and Montgomery, no surprise, is our player of the quarter.

Washington knees out the half, with Stanford ahead 17-7 at the break.

Hurry-up woes

Stanford looked totally unprepared for a hurry-up offense, and Washington, after shooting themselves in the foot all half, drove the length of the field for a far too easy touchdown as the first half wound down. Worst case, especially in the first half: take a timeout. As a popular national columnist notes, they don't get donated to charity if you don't use them.

More generally, ASU drove for a hurry-up touchdown after Stanford had shut down their conventional offense for an entire half, and now Washington did the same. Stanford leads by ten at the half, is at home, and is by no means out of the woods, but looks like they'll hang on tonight. But there's a team on the schedule in a few weeks that'll make or break this season, and I hear they like to run at tempo. We better figure this out, and soon.

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