Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 27, 2013

Seattle provides a noisy reception

by Rick Eymer

Seattle has not been the kindest of cities to Stanford football over the years, and the Cardinal has yet to win at CenuryLink Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks.

Perhaps that is a reason for Washington State wishing to host fifth-ranked Stanford (1-0 in the Pac-12, 3-0 overall) in the school's annual "Seattle Game and Foundation Weekend" there on Saturday at 7 p.m., to be televised on ESPN.

The Cardinal was upset by Washington at CenturyLink Field last year, one of just two losses for Stanford on the year.

In fact, Stanford has lost 14 times its its past 17 visits to the city, with a three-game winning streak between 2006-10 the only interruption of an otherwise bottomless pit since Stanford won there in 1975.

The Huskies handed Stanford 13 of those losses during that span, while Georgia Tech beat the Cardinal in the 2001 Seattle Bowl.

The Cougars (1-0, 3-1) don't appear to be so willing to lie down and take a thrashing as they did a year ago. They have won three straight, including an upset at USC, and have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 100-17.

"Noise is a factor at that place," Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday. "The stadium was half-filled last year and it was loud. It's a smart move for Washington State to do it once a year. It's a great idea for them and their fan base."

Puyallup native Joshua Garnett grew up watching games at the stadium. The sophomore left guard knows what it can be like for opposing teams.

"I think the way they engineered that stadium makes it loud," Garnett said. "The crowd noise makes it an awesome environment to be in."

Garnett, who says he doesn't have much in the way of purple and gold in his wardrobe any longer, said he expects to have a lot of personal support on Saturday. Team-wise? Not so much.

"I've already had people send me pictures of their tickets, with a note saying 'Get ready to lose,' " he said.

CenturyLink Field was the site of the San Francisco 49ers' loss to the Seahawks two weeks ago, and the crowd made an impression on 49er players. In fact, the decibel level was rated one of the highest ever.

"Props to the Seattle fans," SF tight end Vance McDonald said. "They're loud. The crowd is there to watch and they hyped me up."

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who has coached with the Seahawks, said it's unlike anywhere else.

"It's awesome," he said. "It's what makes college football so much fun. I think it adds to the atmosphere and energy. It's extremely cool."

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan made his collegiate debut against the Huskies last year, running one play, a five-yard gain.

"We have pretty good non-verbal communication," Hogan said. "We're all comfortable with it. I don't think we need to worry about noise."

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