Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies (+6.5, 49.5)
Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh may have moved on to the NFL, but second-year coach David Shaw and No. 9 Stanford haven’t skipped a beat.
For the first time since 1970-72, the Cardinal improved to 3-0 for the third straight season with their fourth consecutive victory over then-No. 3 USC on Sept. 15, holding the Trojans to only 26 yards rushing and intercepting Heisman hopeful quarterback Matt Barkley twice in a thrilling 21-14 victory.
However, Stanford will face its first road test of the season Thursday when it travels to CenturyLink Field in Seattle to meet Washington, which will be facing the first of three consecutive ranked opponents. The Huskies rebounded from a 41-3 drubbing Sept. 8 at LSU with a 52-13 rout of Portland State the following week.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Stanford opened as a touchdown favorite and has been bet down to -6. The total has climbed from 49 to 49.5 points.
WEATHER: The forecast for CenturyLink Field is calling for clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60s. Winds will blow NW at speeds of 5 mph.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Over 65 percent of players are on Stanford.
ABOUT STANFORD (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12, 1-2 ATS): Josh Nunes has won each of his first three starts, becoming the first Cardinal quarterback since Steve Stenstrom in 1991 to accomplish that feat. While he has managed the team well, much of his early success can be attributed to an offensive line that has allowed only two sacks and a strong running game led by running back Stepfan Taylor, who ranks second in the conference with 112.7 rushing yards per game. The defense has also been incredible, limiting opponents to 41.7 rushing yards per game – the lowest mark in the nation – and one passing score through three contests.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (2-1, 2-0, 2-1 ATS): The Huskies got back on track offensively following the LSU debacle by setting a school record with 31 second-quarter points en route to a 45-point first half, tying another team mark. Despite Stanford’s defensive prowess to this point, sophomore tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins could present matchup problems. Seferian-Jenkins, who ranks third in the country among tight ends with 20 receptions, is a legitimate NFL prospect at 6 feet 6, 258 pounds and likely the most athletic tight end the Cardinal will face this season.
* Cardinal are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Cardinal are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Washington.
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
* Road team is 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
1. Stanford has won its last three road openers and last three conference road openers.
2. Washington holds a 40-38-4 lead in the series, although the Cardinal have won four straight and six of the last seven meetings.
3. Stanford is one of only nine FBS teams to hold each of its opponents to less than 20 points.