Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP file photoEric Cotton

No. 23 Stanford beginning tough road stretch

The grueling road ahead for the No. 23 Stanford football team just got a little more difficult.

Cardinal coach David Shaw said Tuesday that wide receiver Devon Cajuste is expected to sit out against No. 17 Arizona State on Saturday night as he recovers from an apparent head injury. Tight end Austin Hooper also is questionable with an undisclosed injury.

Linebacker James Vaughters and backup wide receiver Michael Rector will likely play against the Sun Devils after leaving Stanford's 34-17 win over Washington State on Friday with undisclosed injuries, and quarterback Kevin Hogan is fine after sitting out some practices last week with a minor leg injury.

Cajuste is Stanford's second-leading receiver with 18 catches and is tied for the team lead with three touchdown receptions. The 6-foot-4 junior staggered off the field after taking a hard hit near his head and neck in the fourth quarter against Washington State, needing assistance to avoid falling on the sideline.

Hooper has 16 catches for 202 yards. Both are more than all the other tight ends combined.

Healthy or not, the Cardinal will need to navigate a tough road stretch if they want to three-peat as Pac-12 champions.

Four of the final six games for Stanford (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12 Conference) are away from home, starting with the rematch of last season's conference championship at Arizona State (4-1, 2-1). The Cardinal also visit No. 9 Oregon, Cal and UCLA.

“For us, it's about us playing at our best,” Shaw said, “and not about where we're playing.”

The Cardinal routed Arizona State 38-14 in the title game in Tempe and won 42-28 at Stanford last season, and neither game ever felt that close. But there have been so many changes for each team, Shaw said, that playing a high-stakes game in Sun Devil Stadium will be a new experience for many starters.

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