Luck, Stanford make case for Heisman, BCS bowl
Andrew Luck cemented his status atop Stanford’s record books,
made his final case for the Heisman Trophy and put the program in
position for a second straight BCS bowl.
Now he’ll have to wait to see if that’s enough.
With no shot at the Pac-12 championship this week, Luck and the
fourth-ranked Cardinal (11-1, 8-1) will be watching with everybody
else. The resumes for each are remarkably similar to a year ago,
when Luck was the Heisman runner-up to Auburn’s Cam Newton and
Stanford earned an Orange Bowl trip.
The only difference is that the expectations were higher this
”I think we’re all very proud to be a part of this program,”
said Luck, whose college career began a year after Stanford
finished 4-8 in coach Jim Harbaugh’s first season. ”To be a part
of this turnaround gives you a lot more satisfaction than coming in
and having everything be a cake walk.”
If Luck likes doing things the hard way, he’ll enjoy the next
The redshirt junior is no longer the clear frontrunner to join
college football’s most famous fraternity. While he is unanimously
projected to be the No. 1 overall in the NFL draft, winning the
Heisman is far from certain.
Luck threw for 35 touchdowns this season – breaking his school
record of 32 a year ago – and has eclipsed John Elway’s career
record (77) at Stanford with 80 touchdown passes in only three
years. He finished with 3,170 yards passing, a 70 percent
completion percentage and only nine interceptions this season
without the benefit of an elite wide receiver.
All that might still not be enough.
Luck threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in Oregon’s 53-30
stampede past Stanford on Nov. 12, costing Stanford a Pac-12 title
and a chance a BCS championship. He also had several shaky moments
in the final two games – including another interception against
previously No. 22 Notre Dame in a 28-14 victory Saturday night –
but kept on winning, turning an otherwise average program into a
college football heavyweight.
Stanford coach David Shaw has stumped for Luck to win the
Heisman, pleading with voters to look beyond statistics and look at
what Luck does at the line of scrimmage: often calling plays,
formations and keeping an offense ravaged with injuries – notably
to top wide receiver Chris Owusu and two tight ends for the final
four games – among the highest scoring in the nation.
”He’s one of a kind,” Shaw said. ”It’s apples and oranges, in
my opinion, between him and everybody else. I’ve seen a lot of the
other guys and there are a lot of really, really good football
players. There’s nobody like this guy.”
Luck’s competition has emerged into serious contenders.
Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III,
Houston’s Case Keenum and Southern California’s Matt Barkley all
could argue they had better seasons than Luck. Stanford’s coaches
and teammates counter by contending Luck is the best player in the
nation and the program would be lost without him.
How far Stanford falls next season will be evidence of that.
In his finale at Stanford Stadium, Luck threw for 233 yards and
four touchdowns to build a 21-0 lead against the Fighting Irish
(8-4) and hold on late. The victory likely vaulted the Cardinal
into consideration for an at-large BCS bowl – with the Fiesta Bowl
among the leading possible destinations – a season after rolling
past Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Bowl matchups will be announced Dec. 4. The Heisman Trophy
ceremony in New York – where Luck will surely be invited – is Dec.
While Luck will have to wait to find out where his legacy stands
around the nation, he’s already considered about the greatest in
”You look to see what the Heisman stands for, `The best player
in college football,”’ safety Michael Thomas said. ”He continues
to make plays for us, he manages the offense the way nobody else in
the NCAA does. To me, that’s the characteristics of the best
player. He’s continued to put us in position to win games, and
that’s what we do: win games.”
Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP