The feeling of disappointment and despair in the locker room after losing, 17-13, at Washington last season is something Stanford players will never forget.
What happened on the field is even more painful to recall.
The offense has undergone a major makeover under quarterback Kevin Hogan since that setback in Seattle, and players and coaches believe it will make all the difference when the fifth-ranked Cardinal (4-0, 2-0) host the No. 15 Huskies (4-0, 1-0) in a critical Pac-12 North showdown Saturday night.
‘‘Kevin’s mobility changes things,’’ Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday. ‘‘He allows us to be a much more diverse offense.’’
A year ago, Stanford failed to score an offensive touchdown against Washington. Former quarterback Josh Nunes completed 18 of 37 passes for 170 yards and an interception, often throwing at the feet of receivers or misfiring completely. The Cardinal, who ran for a school-record 446 yards in a 65-21 win over Washington in 2011, were held to 65 yards on the ground.
‘‘Definitely not an experience I want to have again,’’ left tackle Andrus Peat said.
Hogan saw his first action in that loss, carrying the ball once for 5 yards on a read-option keeper. This time, he won’t be as much of a spectator.
Hogan is 9-0 as a starter since taking over for Nunes. He has completed 63 percent of his passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions this season. He also is the team’s No. 3 rusher with 124 yards.
Stanford, known best for its power running game, has shifted its passing attack from short and intermediate throws to tight ends to going deep to wide receivers who are increasingly creating separation.
‘‘It’s something that you need to be able to prove to a defense before they start to respect that. With the run game that we've shown in previous years, we haven’t had that type of passing game,’’ said wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who leads the team with 20 receptions for 327 yards and four TDs.
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Maryland begins its Atlantic Coast Conference farewell tour with a perfect record, a place in the Top 25, and feeling pretty good about its best start since 2001.
‘‘Everyone has a little bit more swag, they feel confident because they’re going out there and executing and doing what they have to do,’’ quarterback C.J. Brown said Tuesday. ‘‘Everyone is getting recognized for it. We’re No. 25 in the country.’’
It’s the first time Maryland (4-0) has been ranked under Randy Edsall, who took over before the 2011 season. The Terrapins face their toughest test yet when they travel to face No. 8 Florida State.
The Terrapins haven’t defeated Florida State since 2004 and have been installed as a 15-point underdog. But this is a Maryland team playing with poise and precision that hasn’t been seen in years. Regardless of the odds, the players like their chances of an upset.