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Washington State, Stanford look to fix offensive woes

Sportsnaut
Oct 29, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;   Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee (18) is pressured by UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Gabriel Murphy (11) in the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State and Stanford enter Saturday’s Pac-12 game at Palo Alto, Calif., aiming to correct their struggles on offense.

Stanford (3-5, 1-5 Pac-12) is coming off a 38-13 loss at then-No. 12 UCLA as Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee passed for only 115 yards with an interception while completing 13-of-29 attempts.

Washington State (4-4, 1-4) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak largely because the Cougars are averaging only 13.7 points during that span. They produced 264 total yards (222 passing) in last week’s 21-17 loss against then-No. 14 Utah.

“Offensively, we’re just not doing anything well to lean our hat on right now,” Washington State coach Jake Dickert said. “It’s not being able to run the ball … negative plays, not being able to take it down the field.

“Right now, it’s just ineffective play and not being able to keep the chains moving.”

The Cardinal, meanwhile, resorted to two field goals by Joshua Karty for their scoring against UCLA until McKee completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Yurosek with 4:11 left in the game.

Karty accounted for the scoring with five field goals in a 15-14 win over Arizona State the previous week and made three field goals in a 16-14 victory at Notre Dame the week before that.

“A big thing is diagnosing what the issue is,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “If it’s one guy, you take that one person out. It’s a myriad of things.”

Stanford was down to its fifth-string running back against UCLA, starting walk-on Caleb Robinson.

Members of Shaw’s backfield have either suffered injuries or transferred since last season.

Robinson had 10 carries for 36 yards against UCLA before leaving with an undisclosed injury.

“We’ll retool, we’ll see who’s healthy,” Shaw said. “We have to be balanced. We can’t just have a straight drop-back game. We have to be balanced with the run to keep people honest.”

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward completed 27-of-31 passes against Utah, but 20 of those passes — including incompletions — traveled 5 yards or less.

–Field Level Media