Tight ends lead No. 7 Stanford to another win

BY foxsports • October 16, 2011

It took until the second half for the Stanford tight ends to get going. Once they did, it was all over for Washington State.

Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo combined for nine receptions and three touchdowns after halftime, and No. 7 Stanford blew open a close game to beat Washington State 44-14 on Saturday. The Cardinal have won a school-record 14 straight games, the longest current streak in the nation. Stanford's previous best streak was set in the 1904-05 season and tied in 1939-41.

''They all played great in the second half,'' quarterback Andrew Luck said.

Toilolo caught two touchdown passes in the third quarter that buried Washington State, which trailed 10-7 at halftime.

''He's always been a force,'' Luck said of Toilolo. ''Tonight was Levine's night.''

Cardinal coach David Shaw was angry at the break, and told his players to start playing Stanford football.

''Zach Ertz made some huge third-down catches,'' a delighted Shaw said. ''Coby Fleener (four catches for 128 yards) shows up again.

''Levine Toilolo is becoming a dominating run blocker and a big time pass threat, as well.''

There were other contributors, as Stepfan Taylor run 17 times for 100 yards, and Griff Whalen caught seven passes for 76 yards.

And the Stanford defense held Washington State to 257 yards of total offense. The Cardinal now will get ready to host surging Washington next week.

''We have to get fresh because this week coming up is going to be the biggest week of the season,'' Shaw said. ''It's going to be homecoming for us.''

''We have a really good team, a well-coached team coming in that we have to be ready for,'' he said.

They didn't look ready early against Washington State. Luck threw an interception on his first pass. Stanford (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) had its lowest-scoring first half of the season, as both defenses clamped down.

Luck came back to throw four second-half touchdown passes, tying his career high, and finished 23 of 36 for 336 yards with one interception

Stanford's defense, which allows just 10 points per game, kept the Washington State (3-3, 1-2) offense from getting going. That kept the Cougars' defense on the field, and Stanford wore down the unit as the game progressed.

The Cardinal have held 12 consecutive opponents under 20 points.

Stanford drove 85 yards on its first possession of the second half, with a 62-yard pass from Luck to Fleener covering most of the distance. Luck fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Toilolo for a 17-7 lead.

After punting on its next series, Stanford scored on a 62-yard drive late in the third when Luck hit Toilolo for a 26-yard scoring pass to make it 24-7. Luck also fired an 8-yard scoring pass to Taylor, and a 28-yard touchdown toss to Fleener in the fourth.

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