Sept. 5, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Freshman quarterback Andrew Luck made an impressive debut Saturday, leading Stanford to a 39-13 victory over Washington State.
Luck threw for 193 yards and Toby Gerhart and Chris Owusu each scored two touchdowns for Stanford (1-0, 1-0 in Pac-10).
Washington State was able to move the ball under senior quarterback Kevin Lopina. But the offense sputtered when Marshall Lobbestael replaced Lopina in the second and fourth quarters as part of an ongoing battle for the starting job.
Stanford took control early in the second quarter and led 22-3 at halftime.
Lopina threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Jared Karstetter on the first drive of the second half. But Owusu returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to put Stanford back in charge at 29-10.
Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, beat out veteran Tavita Pritchard before the season. He completed 11 of 23 passes, with one touchdown, and did not turn the ball over. Gerhart rushed 23 times for 121 yards.
Stanford scored on its first possession on Gerhart's 1-yard run. He ran in the conversion and Stanford led 8-0.
The Cougars answered with an impressive 78-yard drive to Stanford's 1, but were stopped on three plays and Nico Grasu's 21-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Grasu connected on a 44-yard field goal on WSU's next possession, cutting Stanford's lead to 8-3.
Luck threw a short pass to Owusu on the next series, and he ran 63 yards for a touchdown and a 15-3 lead. Stanford went 88 yards on its next possession, with Jeremy Stewart running the final 12 for a 22-3 lead.
This was the only conference game scheduled the first two weeks of the season.
Stanford beat WSU 58-0 last season, with Gerhart rushing for four touchdowns.
--Toby Gerhart's had two rushing touchdowns today in the first quarter (11:20) was his 17th career touchdown, tying him with Anthony Bookman (1994-97) for eighth place all-time, while his TD in the fourth quarter, No. 18 tied him for sixth all-time with Anthony Kimble (05-08) and Bobby Grayson (33-35).
– It was Toby's 10th, 100-yard game of his career.
– Toby Gerhart with 121 yards today and 1772 yards in his career, he moved past John Volpe (87-90, 1674 yards), Vincent White (79-82, 1689 yards) and Ray Handley (63-65, 1768) for 10th place. He needs 17 yards to catch Tommy Vardell (88-91, 1789) for ninth.
– It was the first career touchdown for Chris Owusu in the second quarter (11:54), a 63 yard pass from Andrew Luck to make it 14-3.
– Chris Owusu's 85-yard kickoff return in the third quarter (29-10) was the longest return for a touchdown since T.J. Rushing returned an 87-yarder for a touchdown against Notre Dame at Stanford Stadium in 2005.
– Redshirt freshman Andrew Luck in his first career start was 11-for-23 for 193 yards and one touchdown.
– Jeremy Stewart scored his third rushing touchdown of his career in the second quarter (5:40), making it 22-3. It was his first touchdown since the game at Washington State on November 10, 2007.
– Richard Sherman's 53-yard punt return in the second quarter was the longest by a Stanford player since David Marrero returned a punt 64 yards against Oregon State on November 13, 2004.
– It was transfer Nate Whitaker's first career field goal in the fourth quarter at 14:06 (32-13). He was 0-for-1 at Notre Dame in 2007.
– A running back last year who was converted to safety, Delano Howell made nine tackles in his first career defensive start.
– Stanford is now 7-3 over its last 10 season openers, dating back to 2000 and are now 34-25-1 all-time against the Cougars.
– The 39 points today in the opener was the most scored in a season opener since Stanford scored 41 at Navy in 2005.