Kaila’s Keys to Washington Beating Stanford

Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated’s Kaila Olin breaks down the game and how the Huskies can get it done, setting up a UW-Oregon showdown for the North championship the following week.
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The Washington Huskies will host their final scheduled home game against Stanford in this crazy, shortened season and they'll acknowledge and celebrate their senior players prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff.

The home team in this series has won the past five games and the Huskies are 1-4 against the spread when facing the Cardinal. 

I give my three keys to the Huskies finishing with perfect at home record for the regular season.

Offense needs to start fast

Washington had its worst start in more than 25 years in trailing Utah 21-0 at the half last weekend. Drives resulted in two interceptions, two punts and a missed field goal. The Husky offense had possession for just 11 minutes of the opening half. The UW was able to march down the field and score int he second half. The Huskies started stronger and faster against Arizona and ran away with the game, and they need to do that again.

Defense needs near-perfect game

This is the most experienced and veteran heavy Stanford team the Huskies have seen in a while. The Cardinal return nine starters on offense and seven on defense. It begins with quarterback Davis Mills, who went 24-for-32 passing with 205 yards against a solid California Golden Bears defense. Mills hasn't thrown an interception this season. The Husky defense will need to minimize missed tackles that led to multiple Utah first downs and six plays of 10 yards or more. That means create turnovers, pressure Mills, stop the run game and make catching the balls difficult for receivers. 

Third-down proficiency

Washington had two of its first five drives result in three-and-outs against Utah. The Husky offense converted just four of 14 third-down attempts and each came on a passing play. The average third-down distance was 7.9 yards, making it difficult. When the Huskies were in a third-and-4 or less situation, they went 2-2. Being better at third downs will keep them in the game and the defense off the field.