SEATTLE — David Shaw provided a scathing assessment of Stanford's offense. Fortunately for the coach and the Cardinal, the public criticism came after a win.
Kevin Hogan ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 4:29 remaining, and No. 16 Stanford used its stingy defense and a poorly timed fake punt by Washington to post a 20-13 win on Saturday.
Stanford (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) made just enough mistakes to let the Huskies linger into the fourth quarter despite the Cardinal dominating statistically. But Stanford capitalized on Washington coach Chris Petersen's risky and ultimately unsuccessful decision to run a fake punt at the Huskies 47 midway through the fourth quarter.
Six plays later, Hogan scored and the Cardinal had passed their first road test of the season. Now they can turn their attention to next week's showdown at Notre Dame.
"I think we are so much better than we are playing, and the point I got across to the team is it doesn't matter how good we are, it matters how well we play," Shaw said. "And right now, when you look at us right now we're a semi-efficient, sloppy offense and that's not one thing we've ever been known for and it's one thing we better not be known from here on our this season."
Six times the Cardinal drove inside the Washington 30, but a missed field goal and fumble by Hogan never let Stanford pull away. The Cardinal committed three turnovers, including Remound Wright's fumble late in the second quarter that Shaq Thompson returned 32 yards for a touchdown to pull the Huskies (4-1, 0-1) even at 13.
Hogan was 17-for-26 passing for 178 yards and added 53 yards rushing. Ty Montgomery had a 62-yard kickoff return to start the game and also added a 17-yard TD reception, bulling through three Washington defenders.
"We just have to clean some things up," Montgomery said. "I feel like we're a talented offense, we're just surviving our mistakes right now."
While the offense struggled, the Cardinal remained as stingy as ever on defense.
Cyler Miles threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaydon Mickens in the second quarter, but that was about it for the Huskies' offense. Miles was sacked four times. Washington finished with 98 yards passing for its lowest total since it gained 88 yards through the air in 2010 when the Cardinal shut out the Huskies 41-0 in Seattle.
Washington's offense was so ineffective that Petersen resorted to a fake punt on fourth-and-9 midway through the fourth quarter. Stanford was ready and Thompson was stuffed for no gain, giving Stanford the ball with 7:37 left and a short field.
"It was asking to get too many yards there so we should have checked out of it. ... That was on me and not on those guys, trying to create some offense somehow," Petersen said.
Hogan ran the first three plays of the drive and a facemask penalty on Washington moved the Cardinal to the 17. Kelsey Young went for 12 yards, nearly breaking free for the score, before Hogan raced to the pylon on the next play.
Stanford had plenty of chances before Hogan's late TD. Jordan Williamson, who missed a pair of field goals in the Cardinal's loss to Southern California, missed wide right from 46 yards early in the third quarter. Stanford got back into scoring position on the final play of the third when Hogan found Eric Cotton open on a blown coverage for 28 yards to the Washington 34. Montgomery carried on a reverse for 18 yards to start the fourth and Stanford had first down at the Washington 14.
On third-and-10, Hogan kept the ball on a designed keeper but was hit by Thompson, and the fumble caromed into the hands of Danny Shelton. It was the second turnover by Hogan after being intercepted by Marcus Peters in the third quarter.
"We knew we were going to face some sort of adversity. I would have liked it not to be those turnovers and be something else," Hogan said. "But it happened and we knew we had to respond and we did."
Washington had one final chance getting possession at its own 48 with 1:49 remaining. Miles was incomplete on his first three attempts only to hit DiAndre Campbell for 11 yards on fourth down to the Stanford 41.
Miles ran 13 yards for another first down to the Stanford 28, but was later flagged for intentional grounding. On fourth-and-18, Miles was forced from the pocket and stopped after 5 yards, and Stanford's celebration started.
"Congratulations to our defense. Once again they won the game for us," Shaw said. "Not just the last drive, but how they played the entire game."