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Washington pulls off the upset against eighth-ranked Stanford

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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Washington receiver Kasen Williams stiff-arms Stanford's Usua Amanam (US Presswire)

After beating USC on Sept. 15, Stanford had a bye week and plenty of time to bask in the glory of knocking off the No. 2 team in the country.

On Thursday night, Stanford was the team scrambling to the locker room as its opponent's students rushed on the field to celebrate an upset against a top 10 team.

Washington struggled for most of the night on offense, but played great defense and the offense came through with some huge plays in the second half to knock off eighth-ranked Stanford 17-13.

USC, UCLA and Stanford have all lost Pac-12 games before September has ended. The Pac-12 is getting some buzz as a top conference, perhaps even challenging the mighty SEC for the best league in college football. But the Pac-12's top teams are vulnerable (we'll see if high-powered and undefeated Oregon is an exception) because many teams in the league seem capable of winning -- or losing -- every week.

Washington had trouble moving the ball most of the night, and in the third quarter Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy plucked Keith Price's pass out of the air and returned it 47 yards for the touchdown. The Huskies were trailing 13-3 and given their offensive struggles, it seemed like Stanford was on its way to the win.

Bishop Sankey got Washington back in the game with a 61-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter Price threw a short pass to Kasen Williams, who muscled his way through Stanford's defense -- fumbling milliseconds after he crossed the goal line -- for a 35-yard touchdown that gave the Huskies the lead with 5:37 left.

Stanford, which played so well against USC, was lost on offense. The Cardinal had just 235 yards and nine first downs. Desmond Trufant's interception late in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Washington, whose students came running on the field after the final snap.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian needed a marquee win like this to build some momentum in his program. Sarkisian had a 19-19 record at Washington going into a pivotal fourth season, and the Huskies weren't competitive in a 41-3 loss at LSU in Week 2 of this season. Last year, Stanford rocked Washington 65-21 and the Huskies allowed the Cardinal to rush for a school record 446 yards. While this isn't the same Stanford team this year, without Andrew Luck, it was still a huge victory for the Huskies program because it showed signs of progress.

But, as Stanford can attest, the momentum from beating a top 10 team isn't guaranteed to carry over to the next game.

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