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October 2, 2011
Too much Luck for UCLA
Game Ticker | box score
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Andrew Luck sprinted down the right sideline, reached out with his right hand and tiptoed the sideline with his left foot to complete an acrobatic one-handed catch before tumbling to the ground.
Not exactly the Heisman Trophy pose.
Luck threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns and padded his Heisman resume with the spectacular one-handed catch, keeping sixth-ranked Stanford perfect with a 45-19 victory over UCLA on Saturday night.
"There's about five positions the guy can play," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We kind of like what he does at quarterback."
Luck completed 23 of 27 passes and had the Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) in cruise control to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games. Shaw even allowed Luck to go up to the line of scrimmage in a hurry-up offense at one point and call his own plays.
No script. No questions. Just Luck.
"He called better plays than me," Shaw said.
Richard Brehaut threw for 202 yards and had two touchdown passes to Joseph Fauria for the Bruins (2-2, 1-1), who had a better showing than a 35-0 loss to Stanford at the Rose Bowl last season but still exposed the gap between the California schools.
"We're going to look at film and kick ourselves on so many things we left out there against a very good defense," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.
The Bruins' Pistol offense flexed its muscles marching down to the goal line on the game's opening drive. But the strong start hit a a wall when David Parry stuffed Brehaut on a quarterback sneak just inches from the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, leaving Luck the length of the field on his first drive.
The strong-armed and quick-footed quarterback added another highlight for Heisman voters to consider this season.
Luck handed the ball off to Tyler Gaffney and sprinted out to the right side between the cornerbacks and safeties. Gaffney ran left and flipped the ball to Drew Terrell on a reverse, and the receiver threw to Luck along the far sideline.
Luck made a one-handed catch and tiptoed the sideline with his left foot for a 13-yard reception that officials initially ruled incomplete. After a review, Luck had only the second reception of his career and first since a loss at Arizona on Oct. 17, 2009.
"I'm sure it was incomplete at the next level," said Luck, the projected No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft. "Glad we're playing with the one-foot in rule."
The one-handed catch might not have even been the most impressive on the drive.
Coby Fleener snatched a one-handed, 18-yard touchdown pass from Luck to put the Cardinal ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter. That capped a 16-play, 99-yard drive that spanned more than 8 minutes and actually gained 119 total yards because of penalties.
"I knew I had to one-up him," Fleener joked.
Every time the Bruins started to threaten, they imploded with mistakes.
Chase Thomas jarred the ball loose from Brehaut on UCLA's next possession. After a 15-yard personal foul penalty, Stanford only had to go 28 yards for another score, ending with Taylor's 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
The Bruins finally found their rhythm just before halftime. Brehaut showed poise in the pocket and connected with Fauria on a 12-yard TD catch with 8 seconds remaining to trim Stanford's lead to 17-7.
Any hope UCLA had for a second-half comeback ended in a hurry.
Taylor Embree fumbled a punt return late in the third quarter when Ty Montgomery popped the ball loose and recovered it. The Cardinal took over and punched it in the end zone again on Gaffney's 16-yard run out of a wildcat formation to go ahead 31-13.
The Cardinal had a key member sidelined, too.
Stanford linebackers spread eye black liberally across their faces to honor the signature look by leading tackler Shayne Skov, who's out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the previous game at Arizona. Jarek Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley split time in Skov's place.
Not that the injuries would have likely changed the outcome.
"Yeah," Brehaut said, "that's the best team we've played as far as physicality and getting after us."
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP