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Instant analysis: Stanford 20, Washington 13

A monstrous Stanford defensive performance overcame offensive struggles, and the Cardinal escaped Seattle with a 20-13 win.

How the game was won: The Cardinal delivered one of the best defensive performances of the Jim Harbaugh-David Shaw era. They limited the Huskies to 179 total yards and a measly 2.6 yards per play. Redshirt freshman Peter Kalambayi was one of the unit's biggest stars, sacking Washington quarterback Cyler Miles three times. This rock-solid performance on the defensive side of the ball helped Stanford overcome three turnovers and more offensive struggles in scoring range.

Game ball goes to: Kalambayi, Zach Hoffpauir, James Vaughters and nose tackle David Parry will have to share this one, though the entire Stanford defense probably deserves a piece after that smothering effort. Hoffpauir broke up a pair of critical passes and also snuffed out a fake punt, Vaughters led the team with nine rugged tackles (including two for loss), and Parry maintained his rigid, block-consuming presence in the middle. In 16 quarters of play this season, Stanford's defense has allowed only two touchdowns.

What it means: After losing in Week 2, No. 16 Stanford desperately needed this win to stay on track in its pursuit of a College Football Playoff berth. It's now clear that the Cardinal and Oregon are again the two teams to beat in the Pac-12 North. Stanford delivered a championship-caliber defensive performance; now, it needs the offense to follow suit. Washington, meanwhile, must pick up the offensive pieces. Its secondary showed marked improvement today, but the running game just wasn't there for the Huskies in the second half. Miles struggled as a result.

Best play: Ty Montgomery bowled over several Washington defenders during his 17-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Somehow he was able to bulldoze his way into the end zone without stepping out of bounds. A guy who's one of the speediest wide receivers in the country is not supposed to have the strength of a fullback, but Montgomery does (that looked like a Toby Gerhart run). NFL scouts are salivating.

What's next: This is widely considered the most brutal part of the Cardinal's schedule, and now they've secured a win during the first leg of a two-game road trip. A visit to Notre Dame is next. This is the first loss of Washington's season. The Huskies now enter a bye week. They have a chance to right the ship at Cal on Oct. 11 before visiting Oregon the following week.