Sports


Luck springs eternal for Stanford football in annual scrimmage

 

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Andrew Luck completed a lot of passes. So did Josh Nunes. All is well with the Stanford football program as the Cardinal beat the White, 42-3, Saturday.

In its first spring game without Jim Harbaugh at the controls, the David Shaw-led Cardinal & White scrimmage at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco helped set the stage for an encore performance of last year's Orange Bowl championship.

Luck, who figured a college education was more important than becoming an overall No. 1 NFL draft choice, threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns, completing 16 of 22 passes. He led the Cardinal to touchdowns in all four of his possessions.

"It was a good way to close spring ball," Luck said. "We lost a lot of key players and leaders off last year's team, but we've seen a lot of younger players step up to the challenge."

Nunes was 12-of-19 for 180 yards and a touchdown as Stanford accumulated 469 yards of total offense. White's Robbie Picazo completed 6 of 12 passes for 66 yards.

Sophomore tight end Zach Ertz caught six passes, three for touchdowns, for 64 yards. Sophomore tight end Ryan Hewitt caught four passes for 61 yards. Nine different receivers caught passes for the Cardinal.

"I think a little bit of it was feeling each other out, seeing where this team's going to go," Luck said. "The spring provides a good base of something to work on for this offseason, for this summer, for training camp. Guys are starting to step up and they realize it's going to take a lot more work to be a good team."

Freshman Tony Wilkerson rushed for 65 yards on six carries and scored a touchdown. Stepfan Taylor added 44 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. Freshman Ricky Seale went 52 yards on nine carries.

Several starters are back from a 12-1 team that finished fourth in the final poll.

"We want to start where we left off and improve," linebacker Shayne Skov said. "We want to be the best, and we weren't last year. So that's our goal."

Shaw wanted to put his stamp on the program from the get-go. The transition from offensive coordinator to coach was smooth because of Luck's decision to return.

Shaw has asked Luck to have more input on the game plan and even play calling.

He also expects Luck to be involved in more coaches meetings and play a more active role in developing and executing the offensive schemes.

"That is a huge key," Shaw said. "We're asking Andrew to take the next step. We're asking him to be the player that he was last year and even more of a leader and even take more control of the offense."

-- With a little help from AP

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