PULLMAN, Wash. -- In a back-and-forth game with more momentum swings than points, it was a wide-right field goal from Washington State kicker Erik Powell that kept No. 8 Stanford undefeated in conference play and led to the Cardinal's 30-28 win on Saturday night.
What the win means for Stanford: The Cardinal separate themselves in the Pac-12 North even more with this win over second-place Washington State. For Stanford, the good news is Kevin Hogan looked very healthy (cranking out 50-yard runs should reiterate that) and the defense came up with a huge turnover when it needed one the most. But there were other parts of their game (offensively: Christian McCaffrey struggling to get going early when the offense really needed him; allowing 446 yards in the final three quarters of the game on defense) that need to get sorted out before the Cardinal travel to Colorado next weekend and then welcome Oregon , California and Notre Dame to Palo Alto.
What the loss means for Washington State: The Cougars missed out on a huge marquee opportunity to have a coming-out party to announce themselves as legitimate. But until they actually get over the hump, they’re still just another team that couldn’t get the job done. Washington State could’ve become bowl eligible Saturday night, upset a top-eight team as an unranked squad for the first time since 1992, and truly put the rest of the conference on notice as a legitimate contender for the Pac-12 title. Instead, the Cougars came close, gave up a late lead, and lost.
Player of the game: Cornerback Quenton Meeks. The freshman recorded two interceptions after the Cardinal had tallied just three through the first seven games, including the one that helped Stanford hold on. On top of that, he registered six tackles, including one for a loss.
Stat of the game: After recording no first downs and minus-4 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Cougars tallied 26 first downs and 446 yards of offense in the final three quarters.