A quick start turned into a plodding mess until quarterback Kevin Hogan found the end zone in the final five minutes and No. 16 Stanford escaped Seattle with a 20-13 victory over host Washington in a Pac-12 Conference football contest on Saturday.
Ty Montgomery also bulled his way into the end zone to complete a 17-yard pass play from Hogan, and Jordan Williamson kicked a pair of field goals for the Cardinal (1-1, 3-1), which won its second straight after falling at home to USC three weeks ago.
"Score. That was it," Montgomery said. "Score, as in a short action-oriented word that doesn't take long to process. It tells my body to do something."
Stanford goes back on the road for a nonconference game at Notre Dame next Saturday at 12:30 p.m., to be aired on NBC.
The same offensive problems that plagued Stanford in its loss to the Trojans returned to infect the Cardinal again in Seattle. Two quarterback fumbles, an interception and penalties at critical times, including yet another chop block call, conspired against Stanford, nearly leading to another humbling loss.
"We knew we would face some sort of adversity," Hogan said. "I would not have liked it to be turnovers but it happened and we knew we had to respond and we did."
Despite its own miscalculations, the Stanford defense was prepared for its extended stay on the field in the second half to keep the Huskies (0-1, 4-1) out of the end zone, spending more than 18 minutes warding off Washington after making a brief, 9-minute appearance in the first half.
"Congratulations to our defense. Once again, they won the game for us," Cardinal coach David Shaw said. "It wasn't just the last drive; it was how they played the entire game. We put pressure on the quarterback, stopped the run and played smart defensively."
Washington, which entered the game a perfect 9 for 9 in the red zone, was not even allowed a chance in the red zone. Stanford's defense was that dominating, limiting the Huskies to 179 total yards for the game, nearly half of the Cardinal's production.
Stanford penalties gave Washington more yards (85) than the Huskies gained rushing (81).
After the Cardinal took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, Washington marched 75 yards, 35 of which came on three penalties, in seven plays for its first touchdown.
Shaq Thompson's strip and fumble recovery for 32 yards tied the game at 13 with 1:31 left in the first half.
"The bottom line is the ball got ripped out, and we can't let that happen," Shaw said. "Without the turnovers, I don't know if this game is a one score game."
Stanford was driving to a possible score before the end of the second quarter when Remond Wright was again called for a chop block on a 26-yard pass play from Hogan to Davon Casjuste. Instead of first-and-10 in Huskies' territory, Stanford faced a third-and-19 from its own 18.
Washington had its own set of miscues, which included erasing a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the early going.
Hogan fumbled the ball away on Washington's 11-yard line late in the third quarter after driving 59 yards in seven plays.
"Our defense is playing extremely well," Shaw said. "As for the rest of the team, if we can stop turning the ball over, stop having penalties that take points off the board, and stop missing field goals, we have a chance to be really good. How good, I don't know. But we will never reach our potential if we keep going backwards."
The Huskies kept the ball for over five minutes, running 12 plays, twice getting a first down on third down and long plays due to penalties.
The next time Stanford had the ball, Hogan did most the work himself, running with the ball four times, including the final five yards.
"At the end of the game I was just trying to protect the ball and I might have to keep doing that because I broke a couple of tackles," Hogan said. "We found a way to respond and I am proud of the guys."
Sophomore linebacker Peter Kalambayi recorded three of Stanford's four sacks, with Palo Alto High grd Kevin Anderson and James Vaughters each sharing a half-sack. Senior linebacker James Vaughters had a team-high nine tackles, two for a loss.
"One thing we noticed while watching film was they weren't playing very disciplined," Kalambayi said. "We just made sure we had our assignments down and read our keys and stayed on our guys. That made it hard for them to find people to throw."
NOTES: The defense did not record a takeaway for just the third time in its last 43 games . . . Montgomery's opening kickoff return was 78th of career, tying him for second on Stanford's all-time chart with Chris Owusu . . . Stanford allowed fewer than 30 points for the 27th time in as many games, the longest streak in the nation.