On a chilly, but relatively dry night in Palo Alto, the red & white-hot Stanford Cardinal (11-1) struck early and often against visiting, bowl-eligibility-seeking Oregon State (5-6), thoroughly stuffing the Beavers 38-0 to complete the school's first-ever 11-win season and set the stage for a likely move into the top four in the BCS ranking.
We had seen this movie before. A spirited Stanford squad unleashes its high-efficiency, virtually mistake-free offense, scores repeatedly and watches as its stingy defense stifles an overwhelmed Pac-10 opponent. As amazing as it may seem, that has been the story in most of the conference games during this dream of a 2010 season. Enjoy it now, because we may not see quite this level of dominance again during our lifetimes!
The incomparable Andrew Luck suffered his fifth sack of the season and was held to negative net rushing yards, but it barely even registered on the impact scale as the surging Heisman Trophy candidate produced yet another masterful evening of textbook-authoring at the quarterback position, hitting on 21 of 30 for 301 yards and four TDs with, surprise, no interceptions.
14-0 after one, 24-0 at the half, 31-0 after three, 38-0 at the gun. As has so often been the case in 2010, the game wasn't even that close. The Cardinal deliberately pulled some punches at the end or there could have been two or three additional touchdowns scored. It was that kind of a night. This was the same Oregon State team, admittedly without injured James Rodgers, that had lost fairly close games to both TCU and Boise State in September and had embarrassed USC 36-7 just this past week.
Keeping with a season-long trend the Cardinal jumped on their prey early, jumping out to a 14-0 lead after delivering back-to-back 10-play scoring drives on its first two possessions, the second of which began at the Stanford seven yard-line. If you want to beat Stanford, that is probably not the preferred way to start things off.
Senior wide receiver Doug Baldwin, making a case for his candidacy as a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, had four catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns - in the first half alone! (He would add another catch for six yards in the second stanza, when his services we not called upon).
Sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor's 62-yard burst in the second half pushed him well past the 1,000-yard mark for the season, making him just the fifth player in Stanford history to achieve that milestone distinction, joining Darrin Nelson, Jon Volpe, Tommy Vardell and Toby Gerhart.
It was sweet redemption for Stanford's vastly improved defense. While OSU mighty-mite Jacquizz Rodgers had managed individually to ring up nearly 200 yards rushing in last year's matchup, the entire Beaver team managed just 68 net yards on the ground this time around. This more assuredly isn't "last year" and there would be no more "Mr. Nice Guy" from the classy, but cruel Cardinal defenders.
With the regular season now concluded, the team will now have a chance to reflect upon their monumental achievements while awaiting the release of the new rankings and further developments that will determine Stanford's post-season destination.
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