Huskies wide receiver Kasen Williams scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Keith Price with 4:53 remaining in the fourth quarter to take the lead. The Cardinal attempted to mount a final drive but it ended on an interception by the Huskies' Desmond Trufant on a 4th and 4 with 1:46 remaining.
The Cardinal had to watch the Huskies celebrate an upset 12 days after the Cardinal had an upset of their own against the USC Trojans.
After almost three quarters of offensive inactivity outside of three field goals total, a pick-six by Cardinal defensive lineman Trent Murphy started a string of points that ended what was a game of defensive struggles.
After Murphy's touchdown, the Huskies answered with a Bishop Sankey 61-yard touchdown run to make it 13-10 at the closing of the third quarter.
Sankey finished with 144 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown and Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor finished with 75 yards on 21 carries. Price (177 yards) and Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes (152 yards) both struggled completing passes all night but Price was able to make the one play to give his team the win.
The win breaks a four-game losing streak for the Huskies against top 10 teams.
Box Score Hero: Sankey finished with 144 yards on 20 carries and one 61-yard touchdown. In a game filled with defense, Sankey still came away with numbers.
Rankings Ramifications: The Cardinal will definitely fall out of the top 10 but how far is yet to be seen. They could be in the late teens or early 20s when the rankings come out next week.
Did They Cover?: We're going to go ahead and say ‘no'. Those who picked the Cardinal have upside down smiles right now.
The Stanford Cardinal turned what looked like a deficit into a 10-point lead on a two-play swing that silenced the Washington Huskies stunned crowd before the Huskies answered to make it 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
With 3:01 left in the third quarter, the Huskies' Marvin Hall took a punt return back for what looked like a 74-yard touchdown. A flag was thrown but rescinded, so the Huskies thought they had a touchdown. But Hall stepped out of bounds on his return which gave the Huskies a first down.
On the ensuing play, Cardinal defensive lineman Trent Murphy picked off Huskies' quarterback Keith Price and returned it 40 yards for the Cardinal touchdown. A 10-6 deficit turned into a 13-3 lead.
The Huskies answered as the quarter came to a close on a Bishop Sankey 61-yard touchdown run to make it 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter. Sankey now has 126 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown while his counterpart, the Cardinal's Stepfan Taylor, has 74 yards on 18 carries.
The Stanford Cardinal are holding onto a 6-3 lead against the Washington Huskies at halftime in a contest that's been dominated by defense. Both teams have combined to convert only four third downs on 17 attempts, and the quarterbacks have combined to complete only 40 percent of their passes. Josh Nunes has completed 7 of 18 passes for 105 yards, Keith Price 8 for 18 for 76 yards. Washington's Bishop Sankey is the leading rusher with 63 yards on 10 carries, Stepfan Taylor 46 yards on 11 carries.
Despite having only four first downs, Stanford has managed six points. After a 3-3 tie through most of the first half, the Cardinal managed to drive into field goal range. Nunes connected with tight end Zach Ertz thanks to a blown coverage by a Washington defender. A pass interference by UW's defense set up a Williamson 28-yard field goal to make it 6-3 before halftime.
The Stanford Cardinal and the Washington Huskies are tied 3-3 after the first quarter in a defensive-minded contest. The teams have combined for six first downs and have gone 2-8 on third down conversions while combining for under 150 total yards on the game and punting five times.
Neither Josh Nunes nor Keith Price have been impressive so far in terms of their accuracy, with both of them completing under 40 percent of their passes in the first quarter. Both of them did manage some nice completions to set up the field goals for each of their teams. Nunes found Zach Ertz for a 24-yard catch to set up a Jordan Williamson 31-yard field goal with 9:18 left in the first quarter. Price did one better with an impressive catch over double coverage to find Kasen Williams.
That would set up a Travis Coons 43-yard field goal to tie things up with 2:18 left.
The Stanford Cardinal played the Washington Huskies last year and absolutely flattened them on the ground. Stanford piled up nearly 400 rushing yards on an overmatched UW defense that had trouble stopping them at almost every turn.
Luck came to the line of scrimmage with several options, and made the calls that could best exploit the defensive scheme.
"We put a lot on him," said David Shaw, Stanford's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. "We were changing plays, checking plays, putting three different front plays in the huddle, and he could throw all that out and change to a fourth play."
Judging from the results, Stanford rarely took a snap against a bad look.
"He did not make a single mistake in that game," Shaw said. "That is phenomenal."
While it might seem a little baffling why Stanford wouldn't want to go with the run-heavy strategy that has dominated . Stanford hasn't be quite as strong on the ground this year integrating new offensive linemen, and although they put up a strong performance against USC it was mostly Stepfan Taylor making plays. The running back rotation isn't quite as deep and Washington won't fear the pass game as much with no Luck to change things at the line of scrimmage and put players in the right position. So the Huskies will probably key in on the run, meaning it'll be up to Nunes to make some plays with his arm and make the defense stay honest on him.
Can Nunes play a mistake-free game? Probably not. But he can definitely game-manage Stanford in the right direction.
The Stanford Cardinal are 7-point road favorites as they take a trip up to Seattle to visit the Washington Huskies at 6 p.m. PT on Thursday. Both teams were off on Saturday to provide extra rest for the short week.
The money line sits at -110, with the over/under at 49 1/2 for the important Pac-12 North match-up.
The Huskies struggled to move the ball through the first two games of the season, but finally had some offensive success against the Portland State Vikings in Week 3. That came against an FCS defense, and things should be much tougher when they face a Cardinal group that shut down the USC Trojans their last time out.
Stanford is still riding high after their upset of the Trojans, and now look like contenders in the Pac-12 North. They have been able to cope with the loss of Andrew Luck with a stifling defense and effective running game. Saturday will be the first road game for the Cardinal, so the defense must prove it can perform without the fans behind it.