Sports


Luck reaches 51 career TD passes in victory over Duke

 

A win is a win unless you're Andrew Luck, and then it seems like nothing is quite good enough.

Luck was 20 of 28 for 290 yards with touchdown passes of 60 and 3 yards to Coby Fleener, 10 yards to Chris Owusu and 3 yards to Zach Ertz and Stanford beat host Duke, 44-14, in a nonconference football game Saturday.

Luck matched his career-high for touchdowns for the fifth time as the Cardinal won its 10th straight, the fourth longest streak in school history. With 51 career touchdown passes, Luck is one shy of matching Jim Plunkett for third place all-time

Luck drove the sixth-ranked Cardinal 85 yards for a touchdown on its first possession with a short pass to Fleener and Stanford (2-0) never trailed. That wasn't enough to satisfy the perfectionist that dwells inside the redshirt junior quarterback though.

"We put some points on the board," Luck said. "We found our stride, you could say, our rhythm in the second half," Luck said. "But we're going to get beat if we continue to play like that offensively."

Stanford scored first for the 12th time in its last 15 games and scored points on its first drive in 11 of the past 15 games.

Stanford opens Pac-12 play next Saturday night at Arizona (1-1) in a scheduled 7:45 p.m. kickoff.

Lee Butler returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdown to pull Duke to within 10-7 late in the first half.

That was enough of that for Luck, who then led Stanford on four consecutive touchdown drives to turn it into a rout before exiting one play into the fourth quarter.

"I've only been around a couple of quarterbacks that see everything," said Stanford coach David Shaw. "I thought he managed the game very well. Early on we had a couple of protection issues where he had to slide and throw a few off his back foot. He's resilient. He never backs down."

Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov recorded 11 tackles, six solo, as the Blue Devils scored one offensive touchdown and that came against reserves in the final minute of the contest.

"We started the second half playing our style of football," Shaw said. "Our defense did a great job responding to adversity."

Owusu finished with seven catches for 106 yards and Jeremy Stewart added a 30-yard touchdown run for the Cardinal.

"The running game, I thought, was great," Shaw said. "I thought it was good from start to finish. We were hitting four, five yards a chunk early on. We were just waiting for the breakout run."

Stanford was 1-3 in its previous four visits to the East Coast since 1997, though the Cardinal did rout Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl in January. Two years ago, Stanford was beaten at Wake Forest in the first road start of Luck's career, a defeat that may be able to be laid to rest after this weekend.

Stanford pulled away from a Duke team that was a three-touchdown underdog and was coming off another loss to a lower-division FCS team.

The 2010 Heisman Trophy runner-up led Stanford 59 yards in four plays and capped the drive by hitting Owusu with a catch-and-run that made it 17-7 with 39 seconds left before halftime, the first of five straight touchdown drives for the Cardinal.

Luck stretched the lead to 24-7 when Fleener beat safety August Campbell to the ball and rumbled downfield for his second score of the day.

"I guess you could say Andrew makes a lot of hard throws look easy," Fleener said.

And after Stewart's scoring run, Luck hit Ertz with a short strike that made it a 37-7 one play into the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal went up 10-0 on Jordan Williamson's 40-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/AP

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