By JOHN SLEEPER
SEATTLE – Stanford head football coach Tyrone Willingham said this week that Randy Fasani will start at quarterback against No. 9 Washington Saturday.
That’s bad news for the Huskies.
In the four games Fasani started this season, the Cardinal went 3-1, averaged 27.5 points a game and committed six turnovers. In the three other games, Stanford went 0-3, averaged 7.6 points and turned the ball over 11 times.
Fasani started against USC last week and Stanford snapped a three-game losing streak.
Fasani’s absences have been because of knee problems. He tweaked his surgically repaired right knee against the Trojans, but has practiced this week and will start Saturday. Chris Lewis has filled in for Fasani and threw the winning touchdown pass against USC, but has struggled otherwise.
“If Randy’s playing the way he’s capable of playing, he has proven he gives us our best shot at being successful,” Willingham said. “I think there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that his presence (against USC) made a difference.”
Pitts caught a career-high 13 balls against USC last week, the most ever given up by the Trojans. But that’s not the strangest part.
Despite the fact that no other Cardinal receiver has more than 14 catches, Pitts still finds himself in single coverage.
“I don’t think (opponents) look at him with the respect that I do,” Willingham said. “I think they say he’s just an OK guy.”
Pitts is OK enough to need just 22 catches to move into second place on the Pac-10 career receptions list. He’s just 46 behind the all-time conference leader, former Cardinal Troy Walter.
The Orange County Register reported that more than a few mothers of the cellar-dwelling Trojans (0-4 Pac-10, 3-4 overall) showed up for practice this week wearing grass skirts and leis. They also brought signs encouraging the team to win its last five games and qualify for one of the Hawaii bowl games.
Of course, it’s not out of the question the Trojans could go to the Las Vegas Bowl. Better not speculate on the garb, then.
Both frontline tailbacks are hurting. Paul Arnold has a sore back and calf, while Rich Alexis has a bruised sternum. Neuheisel said Alexis will start Saturday. Arnold’s status isn’t certain.
Also, cornerback Anthony Vontoure’s turf toe has healed and he should play Saturday. Although Derrick Johnson is listed ahead of Vontoure on the depth chart, he is bothered by a sprained ankle he suffered against Cal. Both should play, Neuheisel said.
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