Offenses could dominate when Stanford visits Washington State

Field Level Media

November 01, 2023 at 12:57 am.

Two of the worst defenses in the nation will be on the field on Saturday when Washington State hosts Stanford in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) ranks 120th nationally in total defense, allowing 446.0 yards per game, while Stanford (2-6, 1-5) is 126th (465.1 yards allowed up per game) of the 130 schools listed.

Both teams struggle most against the pass, with Washington State at No. 122 (275.2 yards passing allowed per game) and Stanford last among FBS teams at No. 130 (322.5).

Washington State has allowed an average of 36.3 points during its four-game losing streak, its longest skid since 2014.

Opponents have rushed for at least 158 yards against the Cougars in six straight games, including a 235-yard performance on the ground by Arizona State last weekend in a 38-27 loss.

Washington State coach Jake Dickert said he will be more involved in the defensive game planning against Stanford.

“That isn’t a panic thing, that’s just something where I feel like I can be an asset at this moment,” Dickert said. “Trying to find ways to be better, and more solutions, and more attacking, and I think we’ve just gotten stuck on a few things, so to find ways to get over that hump, I think it’s necessary at this time.”

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward will try to take advantage of Stanford’s porous pass defense.

He ranks fifth in the nation with 316.5 passing yards per game. He has completed 216 of 309 pass attempts for 2,532 yards and 16 touchdowns with three interceptions.

Stanford has lost six of its last seven games. In the Cardinal’s past four games, opponents have averaged 42.3 points.

Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. completed 21 of 37 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns in Stanford’s 42-33 loss last weekend.

The Cardinal’s Ashton Daniels nearly matched Penix with 367 yards on 31-of-48 passing for one touchdown and no interceptions.

Stanford coach Troy Taylor said the Cardinal’s running game is a point of emphasis.

Daniels ran for 81 yards on 18 carries against the Huskies, but the other rushers combined for 47 yards on 17 touches.

“We need to get more going in the run game,” Taylor said. “We just don’t want to drop back against these teams, time in and time out. Puts a lot of pressure on your offensive line and quarterback.”

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