PULLMAN, Wash. -- Freshman quarterback Andrew Luck made an impressive debut Saturday, leading Stanford to a 39-13 victory over Washington State.
Washington State (0-1, 0-1) showed improvement from last year's miserable 2-11 campaign, when the Cougars ranked among the nation's worst in both offense and defense. Washington State was able to move the ball under senior quarterback Kevin Lopina. But the offense sputtered when Marshall Lobbestael replaced Lopina in the second and fourth quarters as part of an ongoing battle for the starting job.
Stanford took control early in the second quarter and led 22-3 at halftime.
Lopina threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Jared Karstetter on the first drive of the second half. But Owusu returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to put Stanford back in charge at 29-10.
Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, beat out veteran Tavita Pritchard before the season. He completed 11 of 23 passes, with one touchdown, and did not turn the ball over. Gerhart rushed 23 times for 121 yards.
Stanford scored on its first possession on Gerhart's 1-yard run. He ran in the conversion and Stanford led 8-0.
The Cougars answered with an impressive 78-yard drive to Stanford's 1, but were stopped on three plays and Nico Grasu's 21-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Grasu connected on a 44-yard field goal on WSU's next possession, cutting Stanford's lead to 8-3.
Luck threw a short pass to Owusu on the next series, and he ran 63 yards for a touchdown and a 15-3 lead. Stanford went 88 yards on its next possession, with Jeremy Stewart running the final 12 for a 22-3 lead.
This was the only conference game scheduled the first two weeks of the season.
Stanford beat WSU 58-0 last season, with Gerhart rushing for four touchdowns.
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