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Turnovers a rare sight in Cardinal country

10/16/2011

PULLMAN, Wash. -- For a team that had turned the ball over just three times in five games, it was unusual to see two turnovers in one game -- let alone a half. But it happened Saturday night in the first half of Stanford’s 44-14 win over Washington State.

To see an interception from Andrew Luck that doesn’t bounce off of a receiver's hands is rare. To see running back Stepfan Taylor put one on the ground is even rarer.

Taylor had gone 219 carries without losing a fumble. You have to go back 13 games -- last year against USC -- for the last time Taylor coughed one up.

“I was very surprised,” said head coach David Shaw. “That’s probably only the third or fourth; I think the third of his career. For a guy that is a true junior, that’s not very many. But that’s still more than he’d like. Nobody was more upset about it than him. And he came back in and ran like it.”

Taylor finished with exactly 100 yards on 17 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per carry. He also had an 8-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Taylor was off to a fantastic start, rushing for 58 yards in the first quarter. He had 64 at the time he fumbled midway through the second quarter. He was spelled by Jeremy Stewart for the remainder of the half. Taylor had one carry early in the third and didn’t return until late in the third quarter.

Shaw said there is no need to talk to a guy like Taylor after a mistake.

“The look in his eye, it wasn’t disappointment or sadness or anything,” Shaw explained. “It was fury. He was so upset at himself. We got Anthony Wilkerson in there and he ran well. And then No. 33 ran his little butt off.”

Shaw wasn’t as quick to assign blame on Luck’s interception, which came on his first passing attempt of the game. Jamal-Rashad Patterson was streaking down the sideline and Luck’s ball caught a little too much air under it and Damante Horton came up with the pick.

“It was underthrown,” Luck said. “When a guy beats him off the ball that bad as Jamal did and the corner has a chance to catch up, that means the quarterback underthrew it. Bad ball.”

Shaw wasn’t as hard on his quarterback.

“He wanted to take the blame from that,” Shaw said. “But the quarterback has to have faith if he puts the ball up, we’re going to come down with it.”