In its biggest win of the Jim Harbaugh era – its biggest win since the 1999 Rose Bowl season – Stanford football emphatically closed one chapter of its history and opened another. The lead authors were Toby Gerhart, who ran for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns to insert himself squarely into the thick of the Heisman race, and Andrew Luck, who was 12-of-20 for 251 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford netted 505 yards, broke the 50-point barrier for the first time this season, and punted only twice.
Stanford would need all that production against an Oregon offense that threw for 335 yards and ran for another 235 yards – and probably could have had 100 more yards and a possible victory if not for multiple inaccurate throws and outright drops of would-be wide-open touchdown passes. Even so, Jeremiah Masoli was 21-of-37 with three passing touchdowns and 390 total yards, and tailback LaMichael James accounted for 214 total yards and a 60-yard rushing touchdown.
Pending this evening's results, the Card are third in the Pac-10 at 5-2, two games ahead of two-loss USC, Cal and Oregon State in the win column, and one loss behind Arizona and the Ducks. Stanford must visit USC next week before closing with Cal and Notre Dame at home, but at least they'll now play that final three-game stretch without a 500-pound gorilla – and eight years of history – on their backs.
For the first time since 2001 and Ty Willingham, Stanford is going bowling. Remember where you were on November 7, 2009, because this is the day that Stanford football officially arrived.
That's our take. Here are links from around the country.
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