PALO ALTO, Calif. -- What we learned about Stanford in the Cardinal’s 48-7 win over Colorado at Stanford Stadium.
Andrew Luck has options: You see a 48-7 score with three touchdowns from Luck, and the first thought is “which tight end found pay dirt this time?” The answer is zero. Not a one. True, the trio of Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo combined for eight catches for 156 yards, and 13 of the last 16 touchdown strikes have gone to tight ends. But it was No. 2 wide receiver Griff Whalen who emerged last night, catching four balls for a game-high 92 yards and a touchdown. Tight-end-moonlighting-as-a-fullback Ryan Hewitt added two touchdown catches. You have to go back seven games (Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona State) to find a game in which Luck didn’t connect with a tight end for a touchdown.
Home is good: The announced crowd was 50,360, making it the second consecutive home sellout. That number wasn’t in the stands. Not even close. Still, it was a decent enough crowd, and it made some noise. In their last 22 games in Palo Alto, the Cardinal are 20-2. So far this year, they have outscored visiting opponents 150-29 in three home games. Home is good.
The line keeps getting better: Credit the offensive line for keeping Luck upright, again. The Cardinal have allowed just two sacks all season and one of them came when Luck ran out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage (following his blooper-reel fumble against Duke). Colorado entered the game with one of the best pass rushes in the nation -- statistically speaking. But Luck was brushed only one time (which altered his throw and led to an incompletion), and the rest of the time the line, along with Luck's quick release, was more than enough to handle Colorado’s pressure. Speaking of pressure ...
... These guys have cool heads: A turnover on the game’s opening kickoff would have been more than enough to sink some teams and send them into a shame spiral. Not the Cardinal. For the second week in a row we saw the defense face some adversity on the opposition’s opening possession. This time they responded with a blocked field goal (the first since 2009). Max Bergen scored the hat trick -- the block, the recovery and the 75-yard touchdown. Stanford has yet to trail a game this season.
Best field goal defense ever? Not only did Bergen block the field goal, but Colorado missed another field goal in the game, making opponents 2-for-10 this season on field goal attempts. The average distance of the eight misses is 37.5 yards. That’s not a chip shot, but it’s not a mile, either. At what point does this stop becoming a coincidence and start becoming a trend?