STANFORD (CBS / AP) — Andrew Luck threw two touchdowns and ran for another score, leading seventh-ranked Stanford past San Jose State 57-3 in the season opener Saturday.
The Heisman Trophy runner-up completed 17 of 26 passes for 171 yards and looked every bit the player many believe will take home college football’s most famous award this season. He connected with seven different receivers and showed no signs of slipping under new coach David Shaw.
Stepfan Taylor ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Owusu caught seven passes for 76 yards for the Cardinal, who pounced on their South Bay rival from the start. San Jose State last beat Stanford in 2006, and the Silicon Valley series has been all Cardinal since.
Thanks to Luck.
After turning down a chance to be the NFL draft’s No. 1 pick, Luck returned to The Farm and has hopes of a Pac-12 title and possible even a national championship. There certainly wasn’t any hangover in Stanford’s first tune-up.
Shaw was calm and cool on the sideline with none of the chest bumping or helmet smacking that personified his predecessor, Jim Harbaugh, now with the San Francisco 49ers. With Luck back and better than ever, there was no reason to get all riled up in this one.
Except for maybe watching Luck run all over the field.
After driving the ball inches short of the goal line in the first quarter, Luck scrambled to his right, paused and sprinted to the corner. He launched his body toward the sideline and reached the ball out to swipe the pylon, giving Stanford a 10-0 lead on his first touchdown of the season.
As if the Cardinal needed any breaks, San Jose State gave them plenty.
The Spartans fumbled six times and lost three of them, including when Brandon Rutley entered at quarterback in a wildcat formation only to drop the ball on the exchange. Ben Gardner recovered, and Stanford took over from 13 yards out.
The short field position was far too easy for Luck and perhaps the only reason his statistics were relatively low.
On the first play after the turnover, he sailed a touch pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone to put the Cardinal ahead 17-0. And the rout was on.
Not all of Stanford’s highlights came on offense.
With the clock dwindling down in the first half, Chase Thomas jarred the ball loose from Matt Faulkner — who was making his first start at quarterback for San Jose State — and Henry Anderson scooped it up and ran 37 yards until he was tackled just short of the goal line. Luck connected on a 1-yard TD pass to fullback Ryan Hewitt to take a 27-0 lead.
Taylor scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yard in the third quarter to put the Cardinal ahead 43-3. Luck and the rest of the starters were lifted, and even the back-ups kept piling up points.
Harrison Waid kicked an 18-yard field goal in the second quarter for San Jose State’s lone score. He also missed wide right from 23 yards.
Faulkner finished 14 for 26 passing for 184 yards for San Jose State.
The Spartans, who went 1-12 last season, have lost 18 straight against ranked teams. The last came in a 27-24 win over No. 9 TCU on Nov. 4, 2000.
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