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Washington State out to prove itself against Stanford

  • Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste makes the catch in front of Arizona State safety Marcus Ball during the first half of last week's Pac-12 opener. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / Associated Press)

SEATTLE — David Shaw shouldn't have trouble getting Stanford's attention on Washington State, even with a trio of potential Top 25 showdowns looming.

All he needs to do is put on the video of the Cougars' near miss a year ago on The Farm.

“We know what kind of a team they are and we'll focus on things the same way we have been,” Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan said.

The fifth-ranked Cardinal will put their 11-game winning streak on the line Saturday night at CenturyLink Field in Washington State's annual game in Seattle. While it may appear to be a speed bump for the Cardinal before diving into a highly anticipated stretch beginning next week at home versus No. 16 Washington, Saturday night is a proving ground for Washington State.

Has Mike Leach worked his quirky magic and brought the Cougars back to competitiveness already, or is Washington State's 3-1 start a matter of schedule and not substance? The Cougars have won three straight for the first time since 2006 and haven't started 4-1 since 2003.

Washington State managed to be surprisingly competitive against the Cardinal a year ago. Even though quarterback Jeff Tuel spent much of the game on his back side, the Cougars had a chance to tie in the closing seconds before falling 24-17.

“They think they can stop a lot of people and we think we can score on a lot of people, so we'll see who's the better man,” Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks said. “We're built to score points.”

Here are five things to watch during the Cardinal's trip to Seattle to face the Cougars: FINISH 'EM: Stanford criticized itself this week for a disappointing finish in its 42-28 win over Arizona State. The first half was overwhelmingly impressive as the Cardinal built a 29-0 halftime lead and led 32-7 after three quarters, only to see the Sun Devils make it uncomfortable in the fourth quarter, pulling within 39-28 late. “We always preach about finishing strong,” Hogan said. “We lost the fourth quarter (vs. ASU) and we need to get back to working hard.”

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