Apparently Andrew Luck didn't realize it was too early for signature Heisman highlights.
Luck accounted for three touchdowns, two in extraordinary fashion, as Stanford ran away with a 45-28 decision over visiting Washington. Stepfan Taylor added two scores, as the Cardinal used a 21-point third quarter to blow the contest open.
"Nice to see our offense explode like that," Coach David Shaw said. "Andrew played like he's capable of playing today, and with Stepfan in the backfield, that's a great one-two punch."
Two spectacular Luck passes busted the game open in the third quarter. Stanford had received the second-half kickoff and advanced to Washington's 39 when Luck scrambled left, ducked out of a tackle, scrambled back right, and, while on the run, found a streaking Jamal-Rashad Patterson 20 yards up the right sideline. Patterson stiff-armed a would-be tackler to dive across the goal line, but he was as surprised as anyone that the ball came his way.
"I thought Andrew had to be down for sure, the play lasted so long," Patterson said. "I didn't hear a whistle though so I kept running and trying to get open, it felt like five, ten seconds. I couldn't believe Andrew somehow stayed on his feet the whole time, and I'm sure UW was shocked too."
The second spectacular touchdown pass was more conventional, as Coby Fleener had a half-step of separation heading up the right seam, and Luck dropped it perfectly in. Heisman voters will surely have that throw on their minds come late November, and NFL execs probably will as well come April.
"I'm sure Carolina's kicking themselves right now," Washington quarterback Nate Montana said. "Obviously, I grew up around a lot of good quarterbacks, travelling with my dad and watching football up close every Sunday. Andrew could be as good as any of those guys one day."
Stepfan Taylor added a 14-yard touchdown run in between Luck's two gems, giving Stanford a 38-13 lead heading into the final period. Montana and the Huskies then managed two late touchdowns and a two-point conversion, before Taylor salted the game away on a 12-yard score with 3:37 to go.
"Our running game is good and our line is darn good, but let's be real," Taylor said of his 109-yard, two-touchdown day, "If Andrew's not our quarterback, there's no way all of those lanes are open for me and the other guys. He makes our jobs a lot easier."
Neither team achieved much separation from the other in the first half. Luck ran it in untouched from seven yards out on the Cardinal's opening drive, and a Jordan Williamson 48-yard field goal pushed the early Stanford lead to 10-0. But Washington countered with a long field goal of their own, a 44-yarder off Eric Folk's foot, and Chris Polk capped a 12-play drive with a two-yard run off right tackle to knot the game at 10-all at the end of the first.
The second quarter saw Folk push the Huskies in front with a 28-yard field goal. But the lead, Washington's only edge on the afternoon, was short-lived, as Stanford stormed back down the field, sprung by a Chris Owusu kickoff return to the Husky 40. Luck found Griff Whalen for a seven-yard pass with 7:13 left in the half, and the score remained 17-13 Stanford at halftime.
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