Huskies can't build on USC win

BY foxsports • September 27, 2009

Chris Owusu returned the opening kick 91 yards for a touchdown and Toby Gerhart ran for a career-high 200 yards and a score to help Stanford spoil No. 24 Washington's first game as a ranked team in six years with a 34-14 victory Saturday night.

Andrew Luck added a 9-yard quarterback keeper for a score and Delano Howell intercepted two passes for the Cardinal (3-1, 2-0 Pac-10), who opened the conference season with consecutive wins for the first time since Tyrone Willingham's last year on The Farm in 2001.

The Huskies (2-2, 1-1) were riding high coming into the game. Their 16-13 win over No. 3 USC last week put them in the AP poll for the first time since October 2003. But they couldn't follow it up against Stanford, losing for the third time in four years to the Cardinal.

This marked Stanford's second win in its last 23 games against ranked teams, with the only other one in that span coming at No. 2 Southern California two years ago. The Cardinal hadn't beaten a ranked team at home since 2001 against UCLA.

Jake Locker went 16-for-31 for 190 yards and turned the ball over three times after playing almost flawlessly last week against the Trojans when he led the game-winning drive in the final minutes.

The Huskies defense had no answer for Gerhart, who suffered a concussion last year against Washington. Gerhart ran through Washington defenders all game in the best performance of his career. He topped the 100-yard mark early in the second quarter and passed his previous high of 148 yards against San Jose State last year in the third quarter.

With Luck struggling to get the ball to his wideouts, Stanford relied heavily on the run. The strategy paid off as the Cardinal gained 321 yards on the ground. Luck was 7 for 14 for 103 yards, with only one completion to a wide receiver. His touchdown run on a perfectly executed fake gave the Cardinal a 34-14 lead and started the chants of "Overrated!" from the Cardinal crowd.

Owusu opened the game with a kickoff return touchdown for a second straight week, following his 94-yarder last week against San Jose State with the 91-yarder to stun the Huskies. It's his third kickoff return for a score this season, tying the Pac-10 record held by Southern California Anthony Davis (1974) and UCLA's Matthew Slater (2007).

The teams then traded turnovers on the next four possessions, with an odd one allowing Washington to tie the score. Luck scrambled on third down, and as he got near the line of scrimmage, he flipped the ball to tight end Jim Dray. The pass went backward for a lateral and Justin Glenn picked it up for the Huskies. Glenn didn't run and until he realized that the officials hadn't blown the play dead. He then ran 51 yards for the game-tying score as Stanford's players were unaware of what happened.

Gerhart ran for a 60-yard score on the next play from scrimmage for his longest career run, giving Stanford the lead for good.

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