Washington have every right to feel like they should have come out of Stanford stadium with a win and remaining undefeated, but Kevin Smith’s catch was eventually called incomplete thanks to the booth, and the Cardinal carry on with their perfect (so far) season, hoping that this time it ends with more than just the Rose Bowl.
Washington had more yards on offense, while both teams turned the ball over only once. It came down to Ty Montgomery and his 99 yard touchdown off a kick return, and the call that overturned the decision on the field – that Kevin Smith’s sideline leap was a catch, which would have given the Huskies a new set of downs after being at 4th and 10 on the Stanford 49. The 16-yard pass from Price to Smith might have meant a potential field goal for Washington, but the replay was enough to convince the officials of going the opposite way. Stanford walked off with a 31-28 win.
There was also Washington not being able to convert the chances they did have. Keith Price had a relatively strong performance with 350 yards, two touchdown passes and an interception, while getting the usual support from Bishop Sankey, who ran for 125 yards and scored two touchdowns. Stanford simply grabbed the lead right off the start through Montgomery’s touchdown, and it was a game of cat and mouse the whole way through.
Stanford weren’t very efficient on offense; Kevin Hogan was only 12-of-20 for 100 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Stanford did run for 179 yards, but averaged only 4.4 yards per carry, and simply struggled putting away a Washington team that seems to be going in the right direction in narrowing the margin between them and Oregon, although it still hasn’t done enough on the macro level to displace on of the ruling schools in the Northern division of the Pac-12.
There’s no awards for losing. We’re a proud football team, and we’re proud of the way we played, but we came here to win the game, and unfortunately, we didn’t do that. It’s unfortunate the game had to come down to a judgment call like that. That part was unfortunate because it was two good football teams battling and competing with one another and I wish the game would have got won on the field and not in the booth upstairs with some guy that didn’t get to feel the emotion in the hard-fought football game that game was.
For Stanford, who are now 5-0 for the second time in three years, including 3-0 in conference play, this win was the first in a very tough five game stretch that will determine if this year is once again about “only” winning the Pac-12 or something more: They have Utah on the road, UCLA at home, Oregon State on the road and Oregon at home. There is that final game of the season against Notre Dame, but that too far ahead.
The Way Stanford looked against a ranked team in Washington, which offers similar strengths in the running game and the defense, thinking too far ahead would be a huge error of judgement, as the road to the BCS title game suddenly looks more difficult than before.