On the last play of the third quarter of rainy game in Seattle, Washington, Andrew Luck rifled a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz, opening up a 38-0 lead over the Washington Huskies. The family and I had plans for the evening -- a Day of the Dead celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, if you must know -- so I turned off the television. It continued from there, ending with an impressive final score of 41-0.
On a day when much of the pre-game discussion centered around the professional prospects of Luck and Husky quarterback Jake Locker, Luck left little question as to which quarterback is shining brighter right now. He might have only thrown for 192 yards, but he ran for another 92 and managed the game expertly. After the game Jim Harbaugh praised his quarterback and suggested that people start taking notice of what Luck's been doing. "Let's open up the Heisman discussion a little bit. This Andrew Luck is a great, great football player." Indeed.
The real story of this game, though, was the defense. Over the past three games, two wins over Washington State and USC and a loss to Oregon, the defense had allowed 115 points and an average of 504 yards in total offense. After last week's Washington State game, Harbaugh made it clear that he was upset with how the defense had been playing, and promised that he would address it.
Based on what we saw on Saturday evening, it's been addressed. A few things to consider:
- Jake Locker was 7 of 14 for 64 yards.
- The Huskies had only 107 yards of total offense.
- The Huskies ran seven plays on the opening possession of the game, and seven plays on their final possession. In between they had possessions of 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 5, 3, and 4.
- Shutouts are nice. Even though the folks at ESPN are reporting that this was the Cardinal's first road shutout since 1974, they're obviously wrong. I know because I was at the Rose Bowl on September 11 of this year when they beat UCLA 35-0.
- More shutout info
- The last a Stanford team had two shutouts in one season was 1972 when they blanked San Jose State (44-0) and Washington (24-0).
- The last time Stanford had three shutouts in one season was 1953.
- The last time Stanford had two road shutouts in one season was 1935, when they travelled to San Francisco, Washington, and USC. And by the way, that '35 defense was even better at home, where they pitched four shutouts.
But back to the current edition of the Stanford Cardinal. As things stand today, the Cardinal is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-10, tied with Arizona for second place. The polls won't start coming in for several hours, but Stanford could actually drop a bit, as they'll likely be leap-frogged by Nebraska. It doesn't really matter, though. The Mighty Card is rolling again. Whether or not they roll all the way to Pasadena is still to be determined. Stay tuned.
[Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press]