After rolling over Arizona State last week, Stanford will take its devastating run game up to Pullman, where it hopes to leave 4-0. With the whole country watching, the Cardinal methodically dismantled the Sun Devils, pounding them into dust on both lines of scrimmage. It was a message read loud and clear by the college football world, and next up is Washington State.
Washington State has looked much improved in Mike Leach's second season -- the Cougars have already matched last season's win total -- and could very reasonably be undefeated at this point, if not for a seven-point loss to Auburn. Wazzu ranks a surprising 10th in the country in total defense, and although some of that has been due to weak competition, it will have to play lights out to slow Stanford running backs Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson. If the Cougars can force Kevin Hogan to make plays instead of letting him coolly manage the game, they would have a better chance at pulling the upset.
Rankings and records: No. 5 Stanford leads this Pac-12 rivalry, 37-25-1, and has won five years in a row, including a 24-17 victory last season. Stanford owns a 3-0 record this season while Washington State is 3-1.
Vegas: The Cardinal opened as a 10-point favorite and are climbing, according to OddsShark. The over/under opened at 47.5.
Weather: Pullman is expecting a high of 61 and a low of 48. There's a 40 percent chance of rain.
Three names to know
Connor Halliday - With Mike Leach's pass-happy offense at his back, Washington State's quarterback is fifth in the country in passing yardage and has thrown 10 touchdowns, but Halliday must protect the ball against Stanford if Wazzu is to have any shot at winning. He's thrown eight interceptions, tied for most in the country, and several of them have occurred in the red zone.
Ty Montgomery - In three games this season, Montgomery has already surpassed his totals for 2012. The junior wide receiver has displayed an excellent chemistry with Kevin Hogan and leads the Cardinal with 273 receiving yards and four touchdowns. With another good game, he would set a new career high for yardage in a single season.
Trent Murphy - In truth, any one of Stanford's front seven would deserve a mention -- the unit is allowing a mere 3.42 yards per carry -- but the linebacker has been a key piece for the defense. Murphy has recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and a team-high two sacks this season.
Two things at stake
Washington is just around the corner, and the Cardinal will want to be well prepared heading into that game. Stanford will be seeking some matter of revenge -- its loss to Washington was one of only two blemishes on a fantastic 2012 season. That game would take on more meaning if Stanford's perfect season could remain intact. Its national title hopes hinge on winning as well.
Wazzu surprised many by upsetting USC in Week 2, and will be looking to make a similar statement with a win over Stanford. Beating the Cardinal would do much more though, as it would announce Wazzu as a legitimate Pac-12 contender.
How to witness
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN