Thanks for beating LSU. Good luck in the Sugar Bowl!
Boise State's overtime loss to Nevada on Friday coupled with LSU's 31-23 loss to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon paved the way for Stanford to jump into the top four of the BCS rankings--and thereby guarantee a BCS bid--with a win against Oregon State. The last part of the equation seemed far from a foregone conclusion, with Jim Harbaugh suggesting earlier this week that Stanford had no business being favored against the Beavers.
While Harbaugh's comments were nothing but motivational hogwash (Woo Pig Sooie!), OSU was coming off its best performance of the season, a rout of USC. As it turned out, the Beavers could've suited up former notable players Steven Jackson, Chad then-Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Nick Barnett, and it wouldn't have mattered.
Stanford, which won 38-0, wasn't going to be denied.
In what may have been his final game at Stanford Stadium, Andrew Luck was brilliant. The redshirt sophomore, who could be the first overall pick in next year's NFL draft, was 20-for-28 for 302 yards and four touchdowns. His fourth touchdown, a pass in the flat to Tyler Gaffney that Gaffney took 52 yards to the endzone, was Luck's 28th TD pass this season, a school record.
Doug Baldwin had another big game, hauling in five receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns, while Stepfan Taylor rushed for 115 yards on 14 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown scamper.
The Stanford defense, which registered its third shutout of the season, limited Jacquizz Rodgers to 107 total yards, harassed quarterback Ryan Katz all night, and forced five turnovers. Chase Thomas had two sacks, senior Richard Sherman had an interception for the second consecutive game, and Delano Howell preserved the shutout with a leaping interception in the endzone over OSU receiver Joe Halahuni.
With the win, Stanford improves to 11-1 and is poised to move into the fourth spot in the BCS standings. The updated standings will be revealed Sunday evening. If Oregon and Auburn win next week, they will meet in the National Championship Game and TCU will play the Big Ten champion--most likely Wisconsin--in the Rose Bowl. Stanford will be guaranteed an at-large spot in the Sugar, Orange, or Fiesta Bowl.
I'll have more on tonight's game, Stanford's BCS outlook, and Luck's Heisman hopes tomorrow. Go Cardinal!