Andrew Luck and the rest of No. 6 rated Stanford were impressive in their first conference victory last night at Arizona, but the Cardinal did not escape the game without injury.
Three players critical to Stanford's success this season suffered injuries.
The scariest injury appeared to be with junior inside linebacker Shayne Skov, who suffered an apparent injury to his left leg while attempting to tackle Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner. Skov struggled off the field, unable to put any weight on the injured limb. Last season, he emerged as Stanford's most consistent defender, leading the team with 84 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks on his way to honorable mention all-conference honors. UPDATE: Stanford head coach David Shaw told reporters Monday that an MRI taken on Sunday showed that Skov's knee injury is serious enough that he will miss the remainder of the 2011 season.
With Luck directing the offense, it might appear that Stanford could keep scoring points with a collection of high schoolers at the skill positions. That theory could be put to the test as Luck's two favorite targets were the "other" important Stanford players who went down with injuries in the first half against Arizona.
Tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Chris Owusu -- both seniors and virtual locks to be selected by NFL teams this April -- each went down with injuries. Fleener suffered what appeared to be a concussion early on. Owusu appeared to have bruised his shoulder. Fleener is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior tight end and second rated prospect at the position, overall. Owusu isn't rated nearly as high, but his versatility as a receiver and returner are nonetheless impressive.
Stanford is fortunate that while their Pac-12 schedule has now begun in earnest, their late September slate includes some of the easiest opponents the conference has to offer, namely hosting UCLA and Colorado before traveling to Washington State. Before they take on anyone, however, Stanford has their bye.
The timing couldn't be better for a 3-0 team licking their wounds after an impressive 34-10 victory at Arizona.