Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Stanford looks to keep Rose Bowl hopes alive against ASU

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck makes a throw against Arizona in the second quarter at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, on Saturday, November 6, 2010. Stanford turned Arizona aside, 42-17, as Luck threw for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

The last time Stanford won in Tempe was 1999.

That year, Todd Husak was the Cardinal’s quarterback.

The same season, Husak led his team to the Rose Bowl before making his way to the NFL the following spring.

Well, history has a funny way of repeating itself.

Flash forward eleven years and in comes redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck is widely touted as the nation’s top quarterback, especially after last week’s easy win over then-No. 13 UA in which he threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-32 passing against a defense that had been in the top 20 nationally all year.

“He makes us look good,” Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s a tremendous football player and young man. You look at what’s he’s done and he’s just a winner all the way.”

For his efforts, the quarterback was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week.

“There’s nothing about him that you wish he could do, but he can’t do,” Harbaugh said. “He’s just remarkable in every facet of quarterback play. I just marvel at some of the things he does.”

The No. 6 Cardinal (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) will stroll into Tempe with high BCS aspirations on their mind.

With top-ranked Oregon in the national championship hunt, a Rose Bowl birth for Stanford is ripe for the taking.

“Our single motivation this week is to get a win and get to 9-1,” Harbaugh said. “But we have three conferences games left and it’s a fight for your life every week.”

Stanford is ranked No. 5 nationally in scoring offense at 42 points per game and has put up at least 30 points in all of its games this season.

To put that in perspective, the offense has punted just 20 times in nine games, second fewest in the FBS to No. 4 Boise State.

But it’s not all about offensive firepower for the Cardinal. They are also ranked third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just over 20 points per game.

Despite the overall balance that Stanford brings to the table, the Cardinal are not taking any chances with a Sun Devils (4-5, 2-4 Pac-10) team that has given most of their higher ranked opponents close scares.

“I’m sure that coach Erickson understands that he has a very good football team,” Harbaugh said. “Probably a football team that should be 7-2 or 8-1 had the bounces gone their way. And they know that. And they’re anxious to prove it and they want to use us to prove it.”

With both teams playing for bowl position — Stanford to stay in the BCS hunt and ASU to keep its bowl hopes alive — Saturday could see both teams playing with something a little extra.

“It’s two opposing wills that are meeting,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody’s hungry for that win. That’s everybody’s mindset going into every week.”

The coach sees his team’s biggest challenge as the pass-happy offense ASU runs.

“The overall thing with Arizona State is speed and athleticism,” Harbaugh said. “They put a lot of pressure on a defense, the quarterback gets the ball out quick and throws with great timing.”

Playing against a quarterback in ASU’s Steven Threet that has thrown 15 interceptions, second only in the nation to Central Michigan’s Ryan Radcliff, the Stanford secondary that has caught 11 interceptions this season could decide the outcome.

Reach the reporter at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.