5:00 PM ET, September 3, 2011
Stanford Stadium, STANFORD, CA
STANFORD, Calif. -- Andrew Luck and the rest of Stanford's players huddled together in the locker room, screaming and shouting every one of the points they piled up in the opener.
Maturity Leads to Continuity
Stanford coach David Shaw got his first look at how much veteran leadership can impact national championship aspirations, writes Kevin Gemmell. Blog
"One, two, three ..." they yelled.
Fifty-seven counts later, cheers erupted. For a game that was nothing more than a tune-up, the Cardinal sure made a lot of noise.
Luck threw two touchdowns and ran for another score, leading seventh-ranked Stanford past San Jose State 57-3 in the season opener Saturday.
"It wasn't perfect," new coach David Shaw said. "But it was good."
All the way around.
Luck, the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Auburn's Cam Newton last year, completed 17 of 26 passes for 171 yards and looked every bit the player many believe will take home college football's most famous award. He connected with seven different receivers, showed no signs of slipping under the new staff and rested for the fourth quarter.
The standout quarterback summed up his performance in one word: average. Considering what he has done in his career, that would be exactly right.
Stanford's right on pace.
"I think a lot of (the scoring) was our defense and special teams putting us in a position where you can't mess up," said Luck, who presented Shaw the game ball with his teammates. "I definitely don't think we're satisfied on offense."
Stepfan Taylor ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Owusu caught seven passes for 76 yards for the Cardinal, who pounced on their South Bay rival from the start. San Jose State last upset Stanford in 2006, and the Silicon Valley series has been all Cardinal since.
Luck Has Everything To Do With It
Andrew Luck threw his 46th and 47th career touchdown passes Saturday, the fourth-most in Stanford history. He already holds the single-season record, throwing 32 last season. If he throws 32 again this season, he would tie John Elway for the most in school history.
Most Pass TD in Stanford History
|John Elway *||77||1979-82|
|Jim Plunkett *||52||1968-70|
|* College Football Hall of Famer|
Thanks to Luck.
After turning down a chance to be the NFL draft's No. 1 pick, Luck returned to The Farm and has hopes of a Pac-12 title and possible even a national championship. There certainly wasn't any hangover in Stanford's first tune-up.
Shaw was calm and cool on the sideline with none of the chest bumping or helmet smacking that personified his predecessor, Jim Harbaugh, now with the San Francisco 49ers. With Luck back and better than ever, there was no reason to get all riled up in this one.
Except for maybe watching Luck run all over the field.
After driving the ball inches short of the goal line in the first quarter, Luck scrambled to his right, paused and sprinted to the corner. He launched his body toward the sideline and reached the ball out to swipe the pylon, giving Stanford a 10-0 lead on his first touchdown of the season.
"He gets to dive head first when there's a touchdown involved," Shaw said. "Besides that, he's supposed to slide. He's under strict directives to slide."
As if the Cardinal needed any breaks, San Jose State gave them plenty.
The Spartans fumbled six times and lost three of them, including when Brandon Rutley entered at quarterback in a wildcat formation only to drop the ball on the exchange. Ben Gardner recovered, and Stanford took over from 13 yards out.
The short field position was far too easy for Luck and perhaps the biggest reason his statistics were relatively low.
On the first play after the turnover, he sailed a touch pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone to put the Cardinal ahead 17-0. And the rout was on.
Not all of Stanford's highlights came on offense.
With the clock dwindling down in the first half, Chase Thomas jarred the ball loose from Matt Faulkner -- who was making his first start at quarterback for San Jose State -- and Henry Anderson scooped it up and ran 37 yards until he was tackled a yard short of the goal line.
"I'm getting close to the end zone and I'm like, 'Why am I not getting tackled yet?'" Anderson said, chuckling. "We do a lot of sprints in practice, but I never thought I'd run that far."
Three plays later, Luck connected on a 1-yard TD pass to fullback Ryan Hewitt to take a 27-0 lead. Taylor also scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yard in the third quarter to put the Cardinal ahead 43-3.
Luck and the rest of the starters were lifted, and even the backups kept piling up points.
Harrison Waid kicked an 18-yard field goal in the second quarter for San Jose State's lone score. He also missed wide right from 23 yards.
Faulkner finished 14 for 26 passing for 184 yards for San Jose State.
The Spartans, who went 1-12 last season, have lost 18 straight against ranked teams. The last came in a 27-24 win over No. 9 TCU on Nov. 4, 2000.
Playing against a Stanford team that finished 12-1 last season capped with an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech, they didn't have a chance.
"We had nowhere to go," San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre said. "They're a better team than we are, a much better team, and I think they'll have a great year."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck dove to the pylon for a first quarter touchdown.
Gameball goes to... Luck. The Heisman candidate threw for two scores and ran for another.
Stat of the game... 2006. San Jose State has not beaten Bay Area rival Stanford since 2006.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-14||5-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||2-2|
|FG||08:51||Jordan Williamson 23 Yd||0||3|
|TD||00:57||Andrew Luck 1 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||0||10|
|TD||14:55||Zach Ertz 13 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Jordan Williamson Kick)||0||17|
|FG||09:48||Jordan Williamson 37 Yd||0||20|
|TD||02:25||Ryan Hewitt 2 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Jordan Williamson Kick)||0||27|
|FG||00:49||Harrison Waid 18 Yd||3||27|
|SF||13:13||Matt Faulkner Tackled By Ben Gardner In End Zone||3||29|
|TD||06:08||Stepfan Taylor 3 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||3||36|
|TD||02:07||Stepfan Taylor 1 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||3||43|
|TD||10:02||Tyler Gaffney 16 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||3||50|
|TD||09:04||Coby Fleener 39 Yd Pass From Brett Nottingham (Jordan Williamson Kick)||3||57|
Andrew Luck threw his 46th and 47th career touchdown passes Saturday, the fourth-most in Stanford history. He already holds the single-season record, throwing 32 last season. If he throws 32 again this season, he would tie John Elway for the most in school history.[+]
Most Pass TD in Stanford History
ESPN Stats & Information