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Andrew Luck Must Have Some: Stanford Cardinal QB Key to Beating Oregon Ducks

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal looks for a receiver against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chris EggemeyerCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2010

Who would have thought even a few weeks ago that the nation would be watching No. 4 Oregon take on No. 9 Stanford in the marquee matchup Saturday night?

Both teams have been playing excellent football.

Oregon has an offense that is close to unstoppable. The only weak spot they seem to have is the throwing arm of quarterback Darron Thomas, and even that isn't so bad.

Thomas is completing 54.7 percent of his passes, which is pretty bad. However, he has managed to rack up 822 yards and 10 touchdowns to only three interceptions.

The Stanford Cardinal has been equally unstoppable on offense, using a lethal combination of quarterback Andrew Luck and a running-back-by-committee backfield.

Both defenses have also been getting things done. Oregon is currently No. 3 in points allowed, while Stanford trails close behind in the No. 12 spot.

As is stands now, Oregon is statistically the better team, and polling reflects that as Oregon is favored by most to win (the line right now is seven points)

The Cardinal have a lot of things working for them in this game, but none are more integral to their success than quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck's numbers are impressive, completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 912 yards and 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions.

However, they don't quite tell the full story. Luck is a surprisingly versatile players, and holds a few qualities that could put Oregon in danger on Saturday:


Mobility

How many traditional passers run the ball often? Not many.

How many of them have 50-plus yard touchdown runs? Even fewer.

Luck is extremely mobile in the pocket and has great field vision, so he knows when he is safe to take off and run, and thus is always a threat to pick up yardage either running or passing the ball.


Accuracy

While his accuracy has been questionable at times, Luck has proved beyond a doubt that he is capable of putting the ball wherever he wants to whenever he wants to.

Whether he takes a three-step drop, five-step drop, or seven-step drop, it doesn't matter. Whether he has his feet set or is on the run, Luck is capable of making perfect throws to his targets down field.


The Clutch Quarterback

It's hard to put this quality into a title, but the long and short of it is that Andrew Luck is one of the most clutch players in the NCAA. He could be having a tough day on the field, but when the team needs a third-down conversion or a touchdown, Luck is always more than happy to oblige.

Oregon could force Stanford into a lot of 3rd-and-longs like Notre Dame did, but that will never phase Andrew Luck.

Luck is a talented player whose draft status is practically secured despite (hopefully) being another year away from entering the NFL.

This week is a big week for him and for his team. A win could catapult the Stanford Cardinal into the top five. A win could also put Andrew Luck at the top of the Heisman charts.

Either way, make no mistake: This game rests on Andrew Luck.

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