Stanford Runs Over Washington, Moves To Top Of The Pac-10

Joey GrissoContributor ISeptember 27, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal runs against the Washington Huskies at Stanford Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Last night, the Washington Cougars played their first game as a ranked team in six years. The Huskies, without a doubt, wanted to make it one to remember and carry over into the rest of the season.

Instead, Toby Gerhart and the rest of the Stanford Cardinal made it one they will want to forget, upsetting them 34-14 at home in front of 36,930 onlookers. 

Gerhart ran the ball for a career high 200 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Owusu returned the opening kickoff for 91 yards and a score as Stanford pummeled Washington in its first home win over a ranked team since the 2001 victory over UCLA. 

Andrew Luck contributed too, but not the way you would expect. Luck was only 7 for 14 for 103 yards and had just one completion to a wideout, but that didn't stop him from scoring. Instead, his brilliant 9 yard quarterback keeper on a perfectly executed fake late in the game gave Stanford the 34-14 lead with 2:31 left in the game, which started chants of "overrated" from the Cardinal faithful. 

The Card also dominated on defense. Delano Howell caught two interceptions as Jake Locker was limited to going 16-for-31 for 190 yards and turning over the ball three times, a sharp contrast to his almost perfect play last week against USC.

However, as expected, Stanford was not perfect. Perhaps the greatest example of this came late in the first quarter, when a backwards pass to tight end Jim Dray was fumbled and returned by the Huskies Justin Glenn 51 yards for a touchdown. Believing that the pass was incomplete, Stanford's offense just stood there and watched in awe.

"Boneheaded," Andrew Luck later said of his backward pass to Dray. "Immature."

Maybe, but it didn't stop the Cardinal from winning.

Toby Gerhart, who fumbled on Stanford's first drive, then put the Cardinal up for good with a 60 yard touchdown run in the first quarter. "I was angry," the running back later said of his early fumble, which ended the teams drive at the Washington 11 yard line. "I felt I let the team down. Going into the game, we emphasized ball security. I felt that was the only way they could beat us."

The Cardinal dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 208 yards on 32 carries, while holding the Huskies to a mere 85 yards.

"With our offensive line, we can't be stopped," Luck later said of his teammates. "They decided to take it on their shoulders."

This was Stanford's first big win of the season. At 2-0, they now sit alone on top of the Pac-10. The Cardinal, who haven't had a winning season since 2003, will try to do their best against UCLA next week, who will be opening their Pac-10 season.

'We know where we are," noted coach Jim Harbaugh. When asked if his team was Top 25 material, he responded, "I do. I will be making my vote tomorrow."

Things have never looked so good at the Farm.