Sports


Winning is the only stat that counts for Cardinal QB Luck

Taylor records fifth consecutive 100-yard plus rushing game in Cardinal victory

Andrew Luck only worries about one statistic and that's the win-loss record. The rest of it is meaningless without victory.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has always said the best indicator of a good quarterback is whether he leads the team to a win or not.

After helping the newly ranked No. 10 Cardinal to its first winning season in eight years in 2009, Luck is taking it to the next level this go-around.

It's been 40 years since a Stanford football team, run by a guy named Jim Plunkett, has won as often as Luck's team has won after its first eight games. No wonder he gets a lot of attention: he's succeeding in the one stat that counts.

Luck ran for one score, threw for another and led Stanford to touchdowns on its first four possessions in a 41-0 Pac-10 victory over Washington on Saturday, its largest margin of victory in the all-time series.

"Let's open up the Heisman discussion a little bit," Harbaugh said. "This Andrew Luck is a great, great football player."

Luck and his teammates are now set for a showdown with Arizona (4-1, 7-1) next Saturday at Stanford Stadium. Kickoff is 5 p.m. The Wildcats and Cardinal are currently tied for second-place behind top-ranked Oregon.

Stanford recorded its second shutout of the season, both of them against Pac-10 opponents. The Cardinal beat UCLA, 35-0, on Sept. 11. It's the first time Stanford has recorded two shutouts in the same season since 1972.

This week the Stanford defense handed Washington its first shutout at home since 1976 and held the Huskies to their worst offensive performance in 37 years.

Luck ran for a 51-yard touchdown, completed 19 of 26 passes for 192 yards and threw a 3-yard TD pass to Zach Ertz on the final play of the third quarter. He rushed for 92 yards overall.

Luck suffered his sixth interception on the last play of the first half, but was otherwise nearly perfect. He had one pass dropped and another fell incomplete when he was hit as he threw.

"I don't think I thought we'd be up 28-0 at halftime," Luck said. "Obviously, you've got to have confidence going into a game that you can do well, but I didn't really expect that. It worked out well."

Stepfan Taylor ran for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He's now rushed for more than 100 yards in five consecutive games. Tyler Gaffney scored his first touchdown, a three-yard run, since Wake Forest, rushing for the first time since the Sept. 25 contest against Notre Dame. Stanford has outscored opponents 107-27 in the first quarter.

Washington entered the fourth quarter with just 54 yards of offense and finished with 107 yards, its worst effort since gaining 102 yards at Oregon in 1973. The 107 yards allowed was the second best defensive effort in Stanford history to the 80 yards allowed San Jose State in 1971.

"This defense is more talented than what we have shown the past couple of weeks," Stanford sophomore linebacker Shayne Skov said. "We made it extra motivation to get back on track and show the Pac-10 that this defense is a force."

Washington quarterback Jake Locker, a highly-regarded NFL prospect, completed just 7 of 14 passes for 64 yards and threw a pair of interceptions. Johnson Bademosi and Delano Howell, who returned to the lineup after missing last week's contest, intercepted Locker. He was also sacked three times.

Luck and Stanford gained 318 yards in the first half, and with remarkable balance, 156 through the air, 162 on the ground. Taylor had touchdown runs of three and two yards.

Nate Whitaker had his school record streak of 16 consecutive field goals snapped when he missed a 40-yard attempt in the second quarter. He went on to kick two field goals in the second half.

-- AP contributed to this report.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Always nice to read a sports article which includes info about the previous record in reporting on "record breaking" performances.


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