SEATTLE -- Kevin Hogan picked apart Washington State, throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 5 Stanford won its 12th straight with a 55-17 rout of the Cougars on Saturday night.
Hogan connected with Devon Cajuste on touchdowns of 57 and 33 yards in the first half then found Michael Rector on a 45-yard TD during a third-quarter blitz where the Cardinal scored 21 points as part of a stretch where they ran just two offensive plays.
Jordan Richards and Trent Murphy both returned interceptions 30 yards for touchdowns 2:04 apart in the third quarter as the Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) quickly turned a 17-3 halftime advantage into a 38-3 lead. Richards stepped in front of a pass that floated toward the sideline, while Murphy jumped and stole a screen pass at the line of scrimmage.
Hogan finished 16 of 25 passing with his only mistake being a second-quarter pass into the end zone that floated and was intercepted. Hogan was replaced early in the fourth quarter, but Stanford kept scoring. Remound Wright added a 53-yard TD run and Barry Saunders scored on a 22-yard run, the first touchdown of his career. Stanford finished with 560 total yards.
Washington State (3-2, 1-1) was riding its first three-game winning streak since 2006 and was trying to start 4-1 for the first time since 2003, the last time the Cougars went to a bowl game. Instead of pulling off a stunning upset that would have signaled another step in their resurgence, the Cougars were left physically beaten and battered by the Cardinal.
Quarterback Connor Halliday left in the third quarter, limping badly. Halliday was hit hard by Murphy on the pass Richards intercepted and took back for Stanford's first defensive touchdown. Halliday was slow to get up, but went out for the next play and after throwing a swing pass -- without being hit -- grabbed near his left hip and had to be helped off the field.
Moments later Austin Apodaca, Halliday's backup, was on the ground holding his midsection after a big hit from Kevin Anderson. Apodaca returned and was 15 of 29 for 138 yards and two late TD passes. Halliday was 24 of 36 for 184 yards and an interception.
"We played top down trying not to give up the big pass and we rushed the passer," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We knew it was coming out quick and they did a good job early, but if we could make them hold the ball we knew we were going to have a chance to get after them. We got to the quarterback a bunch."
Stanford played without All-America left guard David Yankey, who was away from the team due to a family issue, and free safety Ed Reynolds was suspended for the first half after he was ejected last week against Arizona State for targeting. The Cardinal barely noticed they were gone and can now turn their attention to next week's showdown against undefeated No. 16 Washington.
Hogan's first half was nearly perfect. He missed on his first pass, then connected on six straight, including the touchdown tosses to Cajuste and was excellent on third down. Hogan was 3 of 4 passing on third down and added another conversion with his legs.
Cajuste came into the game with only six receptions all season. He broke free on a crossing route on the first TD running away from linebacker Cyrus Coen. It was the first passing touchdown allowed by the Cougars this season.
Cajuste's second touchdown came when he blew past Nolan Washington on a double move and was wide open for the 33-yard score and a 17-3 Stanford lead. He should have caught a third touchdown, but Hogan's pass floated and Deone Bucannon raced over from safety for the interception. It was the first time this season Stanford failed to score inside the red zone.
Washington State's defense had been a strength during its strong start, but gave up 311 total yards in the first half, more than they had allowed in any game total during their winning streak.
"I think Stanford is a very mature team and they play like one," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "... Nothing rattles them and when they get an opportunity they capitalize on it."