By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Stanford freshman receiver Ty Montgomery was as surprised as anyone when he heard the play called. Surprised only because he had never practiced it before being asked to do it in the red zone during the first overtime of Stanford's eventual 56-48 victory over host USC in triple overtime Saturday.
The play was a hook and ladder, in which Montgomery was asked to catch a pass and then lateral to Jeremy Stewart within milliseconds.
"It's a good thing I pay attention in practice and meetings," Montgomery said. "There was no time to be nervous; either I knew what to do or I didn't."
The play went for five yards and a third-and-one on the Trojans' 4-yard line. The play was designed to either get a touchdown or get the ball inside the 5-yard line.
"Chris Owusu is the only one who has practiced that play," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "But he had seen Chris do it, went in and had no problem."
Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck said he was trying to use some sort of ESP to make sure Montgomery knew the play as he approached center.
"I looked at him for any sign if he recognized it," Luck said. "He gave me a knowing look. He's a sharp kid."
Montgomery, who hails from Dallas, Texas, acknowledged the exchange.
"Andrew said something," he said. "I think I gave him a thumbs up."
Montgomery was in the game that late because Owusu took another hard hit and Shaw determined he would err on the side of caution.
"It was not a concussion," Shaw said. "That was my biggest concern. He did not play after that hit as a precautionary measure."
Owusu was held out of Tuesday's practice and is schedule to go at full speed on Wednesday.
"After what happened to Chris I was ready for anything," Montgomery said.
Fourth-ranked Stanford (6-0, 8-0) lost tight end Zach Ertz on the opening kickoff to a lower leg injury. Shaw said he will miss at least two weeks.
Punter David Green was also put out of action when he was hit in the back. Combined with the loss of regular kicker Jordan Williamson, Owusu and Ertz, the special teams units took a big hit. Green was cleared for practice this week.
Offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Cameron Fleming also missed parts of the game with injuries. Martin later returned to action. Fleming will be evaluated during the week.
NOTES: The Oregon at Stanford game has been set for 5 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ABC. The game is expected to decide the Pac-12 North champion. The Ducks (5-0, 7-1) play at Washington this Saturday . . . Shaw complimented offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and running game coordinator Mike Bloomgren for their efforts to make all the correct adjustments after Ertz was knocked out of the game . . . Luck drew the most laughter at film night from trying to draw an unnecessary roughness when he tried to fake a flop going out-of-bounds. "I know I was bad," said Luck. "I've been watching too much soccer lately. It was a little embarrassing and everybody made fun of me with the whole soccer thing." . . . Stanford (and Luck) lost, 38-28, to the Beavers in their last trip to Oregon State in 2009.