Luck leads No. 19 Stanford past Wake Forest, 68-24
STANFORD – Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes, ran 52 yards for another score and led No. 19 Stanford to the end zone on all eight drives that he played in a 68-24 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday night.
Chris Owusu caught two TD passes in his first game of the season and Tyler Gaffney ran for two scores to help the Cardinal (3-0) score their most points in 42 years. Stanford has won its first three games for the first time since 2001.
The Demon Deacons (2-1) scored 107 points in winning their first two games but didn’t have nearly enough offense to keep up with Luck and Stanford. Wake Forest gave up its most points since losing 72-13 to Florida State in 1995.
Luck completed his first eight passes of the game and effortlessly moved the Cardinal down the field against a Wake Forest defense that allowed 48 points in a win over Duke last week.
Luck finished 17 of 23 for 207 yards passing to go with the long, weaving run that showed he has the athleticism to go with his strong arm. With 10 touchdown passes after three weeks, Luck showed he deserves to be mentioned prominently in early season talk about the Heisman Trophy.
The Cardinal have scored 154 points through three games, showing no signs of missing last year’s Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. This is the best offensive start to a season for Stanford since scoring 164 points in the first three games in 1923. This was Stanford’s highest scoring game since also getting 68 against San Jose State in 1968.
Wearing black uniforms for the first time, the Cardinal looked sharp from the start after waiting around all day for the latest kickoff in school history.
It didn’t take long after the opening kick at 8:25 p.m. PDT for the blowout to start. Wake Forest was stopped three-and-out on the opening possession before Luck drove the Cardinal 61 yards for the opening score. He capped it with an 8-yard pass to Owusu, who had missed the first two games with a knee injury.
After Chris Givens tied the game with a 22-yard run off a reverse, the Cardinal took the lead on the next possession when Luck hit Owusu with a 35-yard scoring strike over A.J. Marshall.
Gaffney added his two short touchdown runs in the second quarter and Luck added a 12-yard swing pass to Usua Amanam for another score.
But it was Luck’s long run that was his most memorable play of the day. On a third-and-7 from his own 48, Luck dropped back to pass and quickly saw vast open territory in front of him. Without hesitating he ran up field and eluded two defenders and outraced Alex Frye to the end zone to make it 34-7.
Wake Forest got a 48-yard field goal from Jimmy Newman with 4 seconds left in the half to cut Stanford’s lead to 41-10. When the clock ran out during Stepfan Taylor’s return of the ensuing kick, it marked the only time in the first half that Stanford touched the ball and did not score.
After blowing a 17-3 lead at Wake Forest a year ago by going scoreless in the second half, the Cardinal did not slow down in the rematch. Taylor scored on a 10-yard run to cap the first possession of the second half. Luck threw a 3-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin after Austin Yancy intercepted a pass from Tanner Price. Luck took the rest of the night off with a 55-10 lead.
Coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t rest. He even lost challenge of a non-fumble call with 5:25 remaining and the Cardinal leading 68-24.