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Offensive struggles fluster Washington in 20-13 loss to No. 16 Stanford

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SEATTLE — Chris Petersen was at a loss on how to find some life in Washington's offense.

So in a tie game, midway through the fourth quarter, Petersen decided the best way to try to upset No. 16 Stanford was running a fake punt on fourth-and-9.

"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.

The fake punt backfired, giving Stanford a short field that Kevin Hogan turned into a 5-yard touchdown with 4:29 remaining that sent the Cardinal on to a 20-13 win on Saturday.

Washington (4-1, 0-1 Pac-12) missed its chance at a 5-0 start and a validating victory after four games where it was difficult to get a read on what kind of team the Huskies were. There seems to be fewer questions about Washington's defense after it forced three turnovers against Stanford — including Shaq Thompson's forced fumble and 32-yard return for a tying touchdown in the second quarter.

But the worries about Washington's offense are significant.

"On offense we've got to go back to the drawing board and try to get our quarterback some answers for sure," Petersen said.

The Huskies finished with 179 total yards, including just 98 passing. It was the 10th time the Huskies were held under 200 yards since 1996 and fewest total yards since being held to 107 by Stanford in 2010.

Cyler Miles threw a 25-yard TD pass to Jaydon Mickens in the first half, but was 15-of-29 passing and was under pressure all day. He was sacked four times. The Huskies had just 81 yards rushing.

"Stanford has a great front seven and there were times that they broke through and some of those are on the line and some of those are definitely on me," Miles said. "I've got to get the ball out. It's a whole unit. We're going to stay together after this and improve as a unit."

PHOTO: Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) throw against Washington in the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) throw against Washington in the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington hung around thanks to its defense and mistakes by Stanford. 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 (3-1, 1-1) committed three turnovers, including Remound Wright's fumble late in the second quarter that Thompson returned for his third defensive touchdown of the season. Marcus Peters added an interception in the third quarter.

But Petersen's decision to run the fake punt at the Washington 47 gave life to the Cardinal. Stanford was ready and Thompson was stuffed for no gain.

Hogan ran the first three plays of the ensuing 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.

"Turnovers are great. Holding them to short yardage is great but it doesn't mean anything if you don't get the victory," Washington's Hau'oli Kikaha said.

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.

Stanford coach David Shaw was unhappy with the offensive performance.

"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," Shaw said.

Washington had one final chance, getting the ball at its 48 with 1:49 left and no timeouts. 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.

"We knew it would be tough sledding but certainly we thought we'd be able to do a little bit better than we did today," Petersen said. "I think in the first half we did a few things running the ball. We did nothing in the second half running the ball. That's playing right into those guys' hands and usually playing into anybody's hands when you make an offense one-dimensional like that."

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