Our series of Washington opponent previews continues with a look at UW’s first Pac-12 game of the 2014 season — Stanford, the defending conference champion.
STANFORD AT WASHINGTON, Saturday, Sept. 27 (Kickoff time TBA)
STADIUM: This is obviously a UW home game at Husky Stadium, the Huskies’ fourth in a row before heading back on the road. Stanford’s home stadium is, simply, Stanford Stadium. Demolished and rebuilt prior to the 2006 season, it now seats 50,000. Fun fact: media park in the groves among the trees, across the street.
ENROLLMENT: 18,136 (7,061 undergraduate, 11,075 graduate students)
MASCOT: The Cardinal. (Here’s some interesting reading on the history of Stanford’s mascot.)
2013 RECORD: 11-3 (7-2 in Pac-12). Stanford finished the regular season tied for first place with Oregon in the Pac-12 North, but obviously earned the division championship thanks to its victory over the Ducks earlier in the year. The Cardinal defeated Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game, then lost to Michigan State, 24-20, in the Rose Bowl.
COACH: David Shaw (34-7 in three seasons at Stanford and overall). Shaw also holds a 23-4 Pac-12 record in three seasons. And Stanford officially considers its football coach the “Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football.”
KEY RETURNERS: QB Kevin Hogan (R-Jr.) (180-for-295 passing, 2,630 yards, 20 TDs, 10 INTs in 2013; 84 carries, 355 yards, 2 TDs); WR Ty Montgomery (Sr.) (61 catches, 958 yards, 10 TDs; 30.3 yards per kick return, 2 TDs); WR Devon Cajuste (R-Jr.) (28 catches, 642 yards, 5 TDs; OL Joshua Garnett (Jr.) (Didn’t start much last season, but played a lot in jumbo packages); LT Andrus Peat (Jr.) (Only returning starter on the offensive line); LB A.J. Tarpley (R-Sr.) (93 tackles, 5 TFL, sack, INT); LB James Vaughters (Sr.) (36 tackles, 6 TFL, 4 sacks)
KEY LOSSES: LB Shayne Skov (109 tackles, 13 TFL, 5.5 sacks; DE/LB Trent Murphy (62 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 15 sacks, INT return for TD); DE Ben Gardner (19 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks in nine games); S Ed Reynolds (87 tackles, INT); OG David Yankey (3-year starter and All-American); RT Cam Fleming (3-year starter); RB Tyler Gaffney (330 carries, 1,709 yards, 21 TDs)
2013 STATISTICAL RANKS: 45th in Scoring Offense (32.3 points per game); 69th in Total Offense (405.4 yards per game); 22nd in Rushing Offense (207.4 ypg); 92nd in Passing Offense (197.9 ypg); 10th in Scoring Defense (19.0 ppg); 3rd in Rushing Defense (89.4 ypg); 96th in Passing Yards Allowed (253.8 ypg)
BIGGEST 2014 PRIORITY: There were quite a few recognizable Stanford names called during this year’s NFL draft, and many of them play defense. With Murphy, Skov and Gardner all gone from the front seven, that leaves a lot of replacing to do. Stanford has proven itself capable of reloading in the past — they navigated the losses of Toby Gerhart, Stepfan Taylor and Andrew Luck just fine — but this is the most defensive talent the Cardinal have lost in one season under Shaw (though Vaughters and Tarpley give them a pretty good 1-2 combo at linebacker, all things considered). Kodi Whitfield, a former receiver, has moved to safety to help compensate for the loss of Reynolds, though the rest of the starting defensive backfield returns. Garnett, a junior, is the primary candidate to replace Yankey, whom he backed up last season, and Stanford will rely on a few other young offensive linemen to help make up for the loss of players like Fleming and departed seniors Khalil Wilkes and Kevin Danser. And with Gaffney gone to the NFL, Remound Wright and Barry Sanders Jr. become an intriguing options as heirs to the throne.
SCHEDULE NOTES: A pretty standard nonconference schedule for the Cardinal. They open against UC Davis (then host USC and Steve Sarkisian in Week 2, the first meeting between Shaw and Sarkisian since their moderately-publicized tiff last season), play at home against Army in Week 3, take a week off, then travel to UW, then play at Notre Dame in Week 5.
UW-STANFORD ROSTER TIES: There are a few. Garnett, of course, is a product of Puyallup High School, and his dad, Scott, played football for the Huskies. WR Michael Rector is from Gig Harbor and attended Bellarmine Prep. S Calvin Chandler is also a Bellarmine alum. Randy Hart, Stanford’s defensive line coach, served in that role at UW from 1988-2008, with a stint as defensive coordinator from 1995-98. Former Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard, who is now the Cardinal’s quarterbacks/receivers coach, is a native of Tacoma and played high-school ball at Clover Park.
UW-STANFORD HISTORY: UW leads the all-time series 41-39-4. Stanford won a tight game in Palo Alto last season, payback for the Huskies upset victory at CenturyLink Field in 2012. Prior to that, Stanford had won six out of seven in the series, meaning the Cardinal have still won seven of the last nine meetings.
STANFORD’S BEST SEASON: Stanford’s official website claims a national championship from the 1926-27 season, when the Cardinal finished with a 10-0 regular season record under coach Pop Warner, then tied Alabama in the Rose Bowl and was named No. 1 by the Dickinson System (and was awarded the Rissman National Trophy). Stanford also finished unbeaten in 1940 and beat Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. It appears Stanford also claims a national championship for this season, despite finishing No. 2 in the final AP poll.
HOW WAS SPRING BALL?: Here’s a recap of Stanford’s spring game from the San Francisco Chronicle.
THIS IS INTERESTING: Should you ever find yourself perusing Stanford’s roster (for any sport, not just football), keep this in mind: if a player is listed as a “junior,” let’s say, that only means that he is in his third year at Stanford. He could very well be a redshirt sophomore, just as a “senior” might be a fourth-year junior who will, in all likelihood, return for his fifth year. Players are listed according to their academic year, and not necessarily according to their remaining eligibility. Same way Tyrone Willingham did it at UW.
NOTABLE NON-FOOTBALL GRADS: There are a few, as you can imagine. A few names you might recognize: Tiger Woods, golf star; Sigourney Weaver, actress; Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO (though he dropped out after his first year of business school to join Microsoft); President Herbert Hoover
FOR COVERAGE: Jon Wilner covers Stanford — and the Pac-12 – for the San Jose Mercury News.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple