Full Circle: Stanford Reunion at Candlestick

Featuring 14 players and coaches who had previously been at Stanford, Sunday's 49ers-Colts game marked what was possibly the biggest Cardinal NFL reunion ever. Not surprisingly, Andrew Luck was the star of the show.



About six years ago, former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh had encountered tumbleweeds on a Texas highway in a cross-state recruiting swing aimed to lure high school quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Landry Jones to The Farm.

On this pristine Sunday afternoon by the waters of San Francisco Bay, that 14-hour trek through the desert was nothing but a distant memory.

The high school kid, now an NFL star, had finished an epic return to the area of his college roots by beating the man with whom he'd created a college football powerhouse just a half hour away.

Luck, now at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts, sealed the deal versus Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers. With Indianapolis leading 13-7 in the fourth quarter, Luck faked the hand-off before sprinting left into the empty end zone. The ferocity of his celebratory spike made the ball soar nearly as high as Candlestick Park's upper deck. The Colts finished off the 49ers 27-7.

"I know [Andrew] is grinning ear-to-ear," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said afterward. "I have never seen him smile the way he smiled after this win. This one meant a lot to him."

Symmetry
Less than 24 hours earlier, Kevin Hogan, Luck's successor at Stanford, had roamed 27 yards untouched to ice the Sun Devils on a play of nearly identical design to the one No. 12 ran into the end zone at Candlestick.

"I realized it was the same play Stanford ran," Luck told me with a smile afterward. "I was watching that last night."

It wasn't just the play that was similar. The Colts' offense, directed by former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, eerily resembled the unit the Cardinal put on the field in 2011. Luck's numbers weren't gaudy: He completed 18-of-27 passes for 164 yards. But his sharp, cold-blooded performance spearheaded a punishing power rushing attack against one of the NFL's best run defenses.

"Very good," Harbaugh, now the prodigy's opponent, conceded afterward. "Very efficient."

Fourteen different players and coaches with history in Stanford's program partook in this 49ers-Colts game, making it possibly the largest Cardinal reunion ever at the NFL level. A Stanford theme dominated the on-field postgame handshake session after, as alumni from both teams embraced at midfield and posed for a group picture. Here's a list of all the Stanford-affiliated participants:

  • Jim Harbaugh: 49ers coach
  • Greg Roman: 49ers offensive coordinator
  • Vic Fangio 49ers defensive coordinator
  • Tim Drevno: 49ers offensive line coach
  • Peter Hansen: 49ers defensive assistant
  • Kevin Tolbert: 49ers strength coach
  • Owen Marecic: 49ers fullback
  • Alex Debniak: 49ers fullback (injured reserve)
  • Michael Thomas: 49ers safety (practice squad)
  • Pep Hamilton: Colts offensive coordinator
  • Andrew Luck: Colts quarterback
  • Coby Fleener: Colts tight end
  • Griff Whalen: Colts receiver
  • Delano Howell: Colts safety

Luck, though, was the media star of the day that featured more Stanford-NFL symmetry than ever before. Here are some photos from The Bootleg's coverage of the Cardinal reunion at Candlestick.







David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!


State of the Texans Top Stories

\r\n\r\nFollow @DavidMLombardi\r\n\r\n\r\nFollow @TheBootleg\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n\r\nAbout six years ago, former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh had\r\nencountered tumbleweeds on a Texas highway in a cross-state\r\nrecruiting swing aimed to lure high school quarterbacks Andrew Luck\r\nand Landry Jones to The Farm.
\r\n
\r\nOn this pristine Sunday afternoon by the waters of San Francisco\r\nBay, that 14-hour trek through the desert was nothing but a distant\r\nmemory.
\r\n
\r\nThe high school kid, now an NFL star, had finished an epic return to\r\nthe area of his college roots by beating the man with whom he'd\r\ncreated a college football powerhouse just a half hour away.
\r\n
\r\nLuck, now at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts, sealed the deal\r\nversus Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers. With Indianapolis leading\r\n13-7 in the fourth quarter, Luck faked the hand-off before sprinting\r\nleft into the empty end zone. The ferocity of his celebratory spike\r\nmade the ball soar nearly as high as Candlestick Park's upper deck.\r\nThe Colts finished off the 49ers 27-7.
\r\n
\r\n\"I know [Andrew] is grinning ear-to-ear,\" Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said afterward. \"I have never seen him smile the way he\r\nsmiled after this win. This one meant a lot to him.\"
\r\n
\r\nSymmetry
\r\nLess than 24 hours earlier, Kevin Hogan, Luck's successor at\r\nStanford, had roamed 27 yards untouched to ice the Sun Devils on a\r\nplay of nearly identical design to the one No. 12 ran into the end\r\nzone at Candlestick.
\r\n
\r\n\"I realized it was the same play Stanford ran,\" Luck told me with a\r\nsmile afterward. \"I was watching that last night.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt wasn't just the play that was similar. The Colts' offense,\r\ndirected by former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton,\r\neerily resembled the unit the Cardinal put on the field in 2011.\r\nLuck's numbers weren't gaudy: He completed 18-of-27 passes for 164\r\nyards. But his sharp, cold-blooded performance spearheaded a\r\npunishing power rushing attack against one of the NFL's best run\r\ndefenses.
\r\n
\r\n\"Very good,\" Harbaugh, now the prodigy's opponent, conceded\r\nafterward. \"Very efficient.\"
\r\n
\r\nFourteen different players and coaches with history in Stanford's\r\nprogram partook in this 49ers-Colts game, making it possibly the\r\nlargest Cardinal reunion ever at the NFL level. A Stanford theme\r\ndominated the on-field postgame handshake session after, as alumni\r\nfrom both teams embraced at midfield and posed for a group picture.\r\nHere's a list of all the Stanford-affiliated participants:
\r\n
\r\n
\r\nLuck, though, was the media star of the day that featured more\r\nStanford-NFL symmetry than ever before. Here are some photos from\r\nThe Bootleg's coverage of the Cardinal reunion at Candlestick.
\r\n
\r\n

Here's your ultimate #StanfordNFL picture. Just took it pic.twitter.com/sUU59OfOMF

— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) September 22, 2013
\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n

Andrew Luck rubbed Owen Marecic's head. #StanfordNFL pic.twitter.com/zFTc9UVoC2

— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) September 22, 2013
\r\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTweet\r\n\r\n
\r\n\r\n
\r\n
\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\nDavid Lombardi is the Stanford\r\nInsider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com\r\nand follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.\r\n
\r\n

Are you fully subscribed to The\r\nBootleg? If not, then you are missing out on\r\nall the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our\r\naward-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in\r\nStanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com\r\n(sign-up)!

","mobileBody":" Follow @DavidMLombardi Follow @TheBootleg About six years ago, former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh had encountered tumbleweeds on a Texas highway in a cross-state recruiting swing aimed to lure high school quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Landry Jones to The Farm. On this pristine Sunday afternoon by the waters of San Francisco Bay, that 14-hour trek through the desert was nothing but a distant memory. The high school kid, now an NFL star, had finished an epic return to the area of his college roots by beating the man with whom he'd created a college football powerhouse just a half hour away. Luck, now at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts, sealed the deal versus Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers. With Indianapolis leading 13-7 in the fourth quarter, Luck faked the hand-off before sprinting left into the empty end zone. The ferocity of his celebratory spike made the ball soar nearly as high as Candlestick Park's upper deck. The Colts finished off the 49ers 27-7. \"I know [Andrew] is grinning ear-to-ear,\" Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said afterward. \"I have never seen him smile the way he smiled after this win. This one meant a lot to him.\" Less than 24 hours earlier, Kevin Hogan, Luck's successor at Stanford, had roamed 27 yards untouched to ice the Sun Devils on a play of nearly identical design to the one No. 12 ran into the end zone at Candlestick. \"I realized it was the same play Stanford ran,\" Luck told me with a smile afterward. \"I was watching that last night.\" It wasn't just the play that was similar. The Colts' offense, directed by former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, eerily resembled the unit the Cardinal put on the field in 2011. Luck's numbers weren't gaudy: He completed 18-of-27 passes for 164 yards. But his sharp, cold-blooded performance spearheaded a punishing power rushing attack against one of the NFL's best run defenses. \"Very good,\" Harbaugh, now the prodigy's opponent, conceded afterward. \"Very efficient.\" Fourteen different players and coaches with history in Stanford's program partook in this 49ers-Colts game, making it possibly the largest Cardinal reunion ever at the NFL level. A Stanford theme dominated the on-field postgame handshake session after, as alumni from both teams embraced at midfield and posed for a group picture. Here's a list of all the Stanford-affiliated participants: Luck, though, was the media star of the day that featured more Stanford-NFL symmetry than ever before. Here are some photos from The Bootleg's coverage of the Cardinal reunion at Candlestick.

Here's your ultimate #StanfordNFL picture. Just took it pic.twitter.com/sUU59OfOMF

— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) September 22, 2013

Andrew Luck rubbed Owen Marecic's head. #StanfordNFL pic.twitter.com/zFTc9UVoC2

— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) September 22, 2013
Tweet

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