Stanford’s upset of USC focused attention on the Cardinal’s defense, and how good it is.
But Stanford’s loss to Washington on Thursday focused attention on the Cardinal’s offense, and how poor it can be, especially on the road. It raises questions about how the Cardinal (3-1) will fare against a team capable of scoring a lot of points, such as Arizona, which is Stanford’s next opponent on Saturday at home. And it raises questions about how the Cardinal will fare in its second road game, which happens to be an Oct. 13 game against nationally ranked Notre Dame.
After rushing for a school-record 446 yards in a 65-21 rout of Washington last year, the Cardinal rushed for just 65 yards against the Huskies this season and had no runs longer than seven yards. Washington’s run defense is better than it was last season, but it still entered the game ranked 11th in the Pac-12 Conference in rushing defense.
Quarterback Josh Nunes did not provide the passing threat needed in his first college start on the road. Despite generally having enough time to throw, Nunes completed less than half of his passes (18-of-37) for just 177 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
The bottom line is, Stanford’s offense failed to score a touchdown in the game and failed to score a point in the second half against a Washington defense that Stanford had overwhelmed the past three seasons and is far from outstanding this season.