Coverage: NBC Sports Network
7:30 PM ET, October 8, 2011
Stanford Stadium, STANFORD, CA
Andrew Luck throws for season-high 370 yards as Stanford routs Colorado
STANFORD, Calif. -- Andrew Luck brought out Stanford's stars and delivered his best passing performance of the season.
Luck threw for a season-high 370 yards and three touchdowns to pad his Heisman Trophy resume, and the seventh-ranked Cardinal stayed perfect with a 48-7 victory over Pac-12 newcomer Colorado on Saturday night.
With former Stanford standouts Tiger Woods and John Elway joining the crush of NFL scouts on the sidelines, Luck completed 26 of 33 passes to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 13 games. The latest romp delighted a rare sellout crowd of 50,360 that included some of the program's greats.
"I don't think we noticed it," Luck said, chuckling that he missed some of his favorite athletes. "It's awesome to hear that."
Luck was the star attraction in this one.
The strong-armed and fleet-footed quarterback called his own plays again for long stretches, although the no-huddle offense first displayed last week against UCLA was used sparingly. Only a 423-yard passing performance in a loss at Arizona in 2009 did Luck throw for more yards, and he didn't even play the final 10 minutes against Colorado.
"Every game he does something," Stanford coach David Shaw said, "that not many human-beings can do."
Luck had all the help he could ever want.
Max Bergen blocked a field goal and returned it for a score and fullback Ryan Hewitt caught two touchdown passes to help the Cardinal (5-0, 3-0) cruise past another opponent. Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney and Jeremy Stewart each had a 1-yard scoring run as Stanford matched the longest winning streak in school history, set over three seasons from 1939-41.
Tyler Hansen passed for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the third straight loss for the Buffaloes (1-5, 0-2), who had five defensive players suspended for undisclosed reasons. The program is still searching for its first league victory, and the worst loss of the season will do little to lift spirits.
"I expected more, I did," first-year Colorado coach Jon Embree said. "I understand the circumstances. I don't have to accept them, but I understand. We have to keep competing and finding a way."
The Buffaloes limped onto The Farm after a blowing a 10-point lead in the final 3 minutes against Washington State last week. Afterward, Embree declared he was tired of losing and ripped into his team for crumbling again.
They couldn't have asked for a better start at Stanford Stadium.
Stewart fumbled a short opening kickoff to give Colorado the ball on the Stanford 36-yard line. The promising start quickly fizzled when the offense stalled and special teams imploded.
Bergen ran untouched through the line and blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt by Will Oliver. Bergen picked up the ball on a bounce and ran 75 yards for a score, giving Stanford a 7-0 lead.
"I took a few looks to my side, but I just wanted to score," Bergen said. "That was the only thing on my mind."
Even though Luck and the offense had a lengthy wait to take the field, they showed little rust.
Shaw limited the no-huddle offense that gives Luck complete freedom to call plays, instead allowing his quarterback to take a few calls to the line of scrimmage for most of the game. With bigger matchups against Washington, Southern California and Oregon looming, there was no need to dig deep into the playbook against a struggling Colorado team missing a chunk of its secondary. Colorado receiver Paul Richardson also sat out with a knee injury.
On one of the rare occasions Luck ran the hurry-up offense, he found Levine Toilolo for a 27-yard completion. Taylor capped the drive with a 1-yard scoring run to put the Cardinal ahead 13-0 after a missed extra point.
Not everything for Stanford went smoothly.
Luck threw only his second interception of the season in the second quarter, and again it came on a tipped passes by receiver Chris Owusu. This time, Terrel Smith benefited for an easy pick off that led to Colorado's first score.
Rodney Stewart took a short pass on the far sideline, cut back across the field and sprinted 76 yards down the Stanford sideline. Two plays later, Tony Jones caught a 5-yard touchdown pass to trim the Cardinal's lead to 13-7.
Just when the Buffaloes started to gain momentum, Luck turned a close contest into a rout.
On third and 26, Luck stepped up in the pocket, moved to his right and connected with Griff Whalen in stride for a 27-yard completion. Jeremy Stewart followed with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Cardinal ahead 20-7.
Luck added a 1-yard TD pass to Hewitt just before the half to put Stanford ahead 27-7. Hewitt also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass on the Cardinal's first possession of the third quarter.
Gaffney ran for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down to push Stanford's lead to 41-7 late in the third quarter. Whalen caught a 30-yard pass from Luck for another score early in the fourth quarter
"Sometimes he makes some pretty unbelievable plays," Whalen said of Luck. "At this point, I don't think we're exactly surprised."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... It was clear the Buffaloes' road woes weren't going to end against a top 10 team.
Gameball goes to... Andrew Luck, who completed 26 of 33 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat of the game... 19. Colorado's road losing streak continues. It's the longest active streak in FBS.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-13||4-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-2|
|TD||11:01||Max Bergen 75 Yd Return Of Blocked Field Goal (Jordan Williamson Kick)||0||7|
|TD||05:33||Stepfan Taylor 1 Yd Run (Pat Failed)||0||13|
|TD||12:54||Tony Jones 5 Yd Pass From Tyler Hansen (Will Oliver Kick)||7||13|
|TD||06:48||Jeremy Stewart 1 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||7||20|
|TD||02:07||Ryan Hewitt 1 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Jordan Williamson Kick)||7||27|
|TD||11:03||Ryan Hewitt 10 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Jordan Williamson Kick)||7||34|
|TD||02:03||Tyler Gaffney 1 Yd Run (Jordan Williamson Kick)||7||41|
|TD||11:02||Griff Whalen 30 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Jordan Williamson Kick)||7||48|