Tuesday, January 4, 2011

#5 Stanford Too Much For Virginia Tech

Andrew Luck threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns Monday night to lead fifth-ranked Stanford past No. 12 Virginia Tech, 40-12. The blowout win was the latest success for a school that went 1-11 just four years ago before hiring Jim Harbaugh as coach.

Afterward, Luck and Harbaugh deflected questions about whether the game might have been their last at Stanford. Harbaugh is expected to be courted by NFL teams and perhaps alma mater Michigan, and Luck is projected as the likely first pick in the draft if he turns pro this year.

The sophomore turned in a performance reminiscent of two sideline spectators, former Stanford quarterbacks John Elway and Jim Plunkett. Elway, who is expected to become the Denver Broncos’ chief football executive this week, served as honorary captain.

 The Cardinal (12-1) likely will end the season ranked in the top 5 for the first time since the unbeaten 1940 team finished No. 2.

Virginia Tech (11-3), playing in a bowl game for the 18th consecutive year, fell to 1-27 against top-5 teams. They were outscored 27-0 by the Cardinal in the second half.

“They’re really good, and we helped them be good,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. “There were a couple of long plays against our defense, and then the game got away from us. The thing kind of snowballed.”

Tight end Coby Fleener caught scoring passes of 41, 58 and 38 yards from Luck, all in the final 21 minutes. Zach Ertz had a 25-yard TD reception, Jeremy Stewart scored on a 60-yard run and Stepfan Taylor added a 56-yard run. Fullback-linebacker Owen Marecic scored on a 1-yard run and had a sack.

Fleener had six catches for 173 yards for the Cardinal, who outgained Tech 534-288.

The Hokies could not figure out Stanford’s multiple shifts nor could they mount an effective rushing attack of their own.

The Hokies’ Tyrod Taylor passed for 222 yards, but he was thrown for 70 yards in losses, and Tech twice came away empty after driving inside the Stanford 35.

Taylor’s scrambling skills helped the Hokies score their only touchdown. On third-and-goal he rolled left, retreated, spun 180 degrees near the Stanford bench and threw to David Wilson for an 11-yard score.

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