All eyes are on Stanford Stadium for Saturday’s colossal college football showdown between the Cardinal and the Oregon Ducks.
The spotlight is shining brightest on Stanford’s uber-QB, Andrew Luck. Can Luck guide the Cardinal to victory, sans two of his major weapons in TE Zach Ertz and WR Chris Owusu?
Will Griff “Wes Welker” Whalen be able to get open without Owusu on the field? Can speedy frosh WR Ty Montgomery step up in Owusu’s absence?
These and other burning questions shall be answered beginning shortly after 5 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, let’s review five of Andrew Luck’s greatest games. And no, you won’t need to click through a slideshow full of photos of Luck. After all, he’s the most recognizable football player in America right now. (OK, maybe second to Aaron Rodgers. Or, third behind Rodgers and Drew Brees. Or, fourth behind Rodgers, Brees and Tom Brady. Anyway, you get the picture.)
1. 2011 Orange Bowl
Luck led Stanford to a 40-12 beatdown over Coach Frank Beamer’s VaTech Hokies in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
He was named MOP after a surgical performance, connecting with Ertz on a 25-yard touchdown pass, and with TE Coby Fleener on scoring strikes of 41, 58 and 38 yards, and totaled 287 yards on 18 of 23 passing.
2. Triple OT win at USC, October 2011
Luck’s heroics in last month’s triple overtime 56-48 thriller over USC in Los Angeles are still front of mind.
The gaudy stats—29 of 40 passing for 330 yards and three touchdowns, along with nine rushes for 36 yards and another TD—tell only part of the story. Luck displayed some mental toughness and will to win as well.
After throwing an uncharacteristic and seemingly fatal pick-six late in regulation, Luck rallied himself and Stanford to the victory before over 90,000 raucous Trojan fans in the Coliseum.
3. 2010 Big Game at Cal
Luck showed no fear in his first Big Game visit to Berkeley against archrival Cal in November 2010. On a showery, windswept afternoon, Luck was his usual ultra-accurate self, completing 16 of 20 passes for 235 yard and a pair of touchdowns, as Stanford demolished the Bears 48-14.
He also rushed for 72 yards, including a memorable 58-yard run in which he flattened Cal safety Sean Cattouse with a forearm shiver, planting the shell-shocked Cattouse onto the Memorial Stadium turf.
4. 2010 vs. USC
Stanford’s 2010 last-second 37-35 win over USC featured a typically brilliant Luck performance, as he completed 20 of 24 passes for 285 yard and three touchdowns. He led the Cardinal on the winning drive as the clock was winding down.
Luck also showed off his tackling ability, as he leveled USC DB Shareece Wright, who had scooped up a rare Stepfan Taylor fumble and appeared headed for paydirt. Not so fast. Poor Wright didn’t know what hit him.
5. 2009 vs. Oregon
No list of Luck’s best games would be complete without a recap of the 2009 Oregon game, which was the Ducks’ last visit to Palo Alto. Luck directed Stanford to a 51-42 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
While Luck completed only 12 passes that day, they totaled a whopping 251 yards and included two touchdowns. Luck finished with his usual jaw-dropping YPA (12.5). The Cardinal added 223 rushing yards by Toby Gerhart and led 48-28 in the fourth quarter before Oregon added two late scores.
What will Luck do against Oregon on Saturday? We’ll know very shortly.