Sports


Stanford sets record for longest winning streak

 

Andrew Luck played the second half like he had some catching up to do.

After a dismal first half performance by Stanford in general, Luck came back to throw four touchdowns in the final 30 minutes, including two third-quarter touchdown passes to Levine Toilolo, as No. 7 Stanford beat Washington State, 44-14, Saturday to extend the nation's longest winning streak to a school-record 14 consecutive games.

"We played great tonight in the second half," Luck said.

Indeed, the Cardinal outscored the Cougars, 34-7, in the second half.

Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor generated 100 rushing yards, his 10th career 100-plus game to help Stanford makes its debute ranked eighth in the inaugural Bowl Championship Series standings released Sunday.

LSU and Alabama were ranked first and second respectively, followed by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Wisconsin and Clemson. Arkansas and Oregon rounded out the Top 10.

Stanford (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) looks to continue its success this Saturday when it hosts Washington at 5 p.m. in a nationally televised contest.

Stanford struggled against the Cougars' defense before blowing the game open in the second half.

Stanford led, 10-7, at the break, its lowest first-half output of the season.

"It was just little mistakes," Luck said. "It was my fault for not putting the ball where it was supposed to be."

Washington State (3-3, 1-2) hoped to get a boost from the return of quarterback Jeff Tuel. But the Cougars had little success against a Stanford defense that is allowing just 10 points per game.

Luck completed 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards with one interception.

"In the first half, Andrew Luck looked like a good football player," Washington State coach Paul Wulff said. "In the second half, he looked like a great football player."

Tuel, who fractured his collarbone on his first series of the season, finally was cleared to play and started the game in place of reserve Marshall Lobbestael. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 145 yards.

The Cougars generated just 257 yards of total offense in the game, to 475 for Stanford.

"I love what our defense was doing," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We make adjustments and they get it."

Stanford gathered itself following the intermission and drove 85 yards on its first possession of the second half, with a 62-yard pass play from Luck to Coby Fleener covering most of the distance. Luck fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Toilolo for a 17-7 lead.

After punting on its next series, Stanford scored on a 62-yard drive late in the third when Luck hit Toilolo for a 26-yard scoring pass and a 24-7 lead. Luck also fired an 8-yard scoring pass to Stepfan Taylor and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Fleener in the fourth.

Lobbestael scored on a short run for Washington State and Ty Montgomery flew 96 yards on the ensuing kickoff to finish the game with a flourish.

Redshirt junior safety Harold Bernard was credited with 1 1/2 of Stanford's six quarterback sacks in the contest. Josh Mauro, Jarek Lancaster and Michael Thomas each had a sack, while Chase Thomas, Matt Masifilo and Trent Murphy were awarded partial credits.

In the first half, Jordan Williamson kicked a 23-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the first quarter to give Stanford a 3-0 lead.

The Cardinal have not been scored upon in the first quarter all season, and have scored in the first period in each of its last 26 games.

Luck had just 89 passing yards in the first half, on 10-of-16 passing, and the Cardinal had just 165 yards of offense. Washington State was held to 94 yards of offense in the first half.

The Cardinal lead the Pac-12 in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and sacks per game. Stanford has allowed just six points in the third quarter all season.

Stanford has held its last 12 opponents to under 20 points, the longest such streak since 1939-41, when Stanford held 14 straight foes under 20.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/AP

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