Tag:Andrew Luck
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:11 pm
 

Davey O'Brien semifinalists announced; no Persa?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback, announced its 16 semifinalists for the award today. The list is as follows, in alphabetical order:

 

  • Matt Barkley (Soph.), USC
  • Kirk Cousins (Jr.), Michigan State
  • Andy Dalton (Sr.), TCU
  • Blaine Gabbert (Jr.), Missouri
  • Robert Griffin III (Soph.), Baylor
  • Landry Jones (Soph.), Oklahoma
  • Colin Kaepernick (Sr.), Nevada
  • Andrew Luck (Jr.), Stanford
  • Ryan Mallett (Jr.), Arkansas
  • Taylor Martinez (Fr.), Nebraska
  • Kellen Moore (Jr.), Boise State
  • Cam Newton (Jr.), Auburn
  • Terrelle Pryor (Jr.), Ohio State
  • Denard Robinson (Soph.), Michigan
  • Ricky Stanzi (Sr.), Iowa
  • Darron Thomas (Soph.), Oregon

 

All in all, this is a pretty thorough list of the quarterbacks who might end up being the top quarterback in the nation once December rolls around, but it certainly does seem as if there was one glaring omission: Northwestern sophomore Dan Persa . Persa currently leads the nation in completion percentage, is eighth in passing efficiency  and is fifth in total offense . Oh, and Persa also leads his team in rushing yards (341) and rushing touchdowns (six) -- each by pretty substantial margins over the nearest teammate.

Of course, it certainly merits mention that Northwestern is currently on a two-game losing streak, and that the Wildcats hadn't really beaten anyone of merit before the streak either. But in the Wildcats' losses to Michigan State and Purdue -- neither of whom have lost a Big Ten game yet, for what it's worth -- Persa was hardly "at fault" for the losses; he averaged 281 yards of total offense in the two games and scored four touchdowns to just one turnover.

It's hard to say who should be bumped for Persa's sake, though; every one of the top 16 semifinalists has a legitimate claim to deserving some sort of accolade. It's also worth pointing out, however, that until Missouri and Oklahoma faced each other this past weekend, Dalton, Gabbert, and Jones were all quarterbacking undefeated teams, and that's probably the only reason they're on the list; Jones and Gabbert, in particular, aren't even close to the top 16 of passing efficiency in the nation (34th and 39th, respectively). None of the three are terribly gifted runners, either, while Persa's been forced to anchor the woeful Northwestern ground game.

Of course, the O'Brien Award probably wants to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to even nominate a title contender's quarterback as a finalist, and with two conference losses, it's extremely unlikely that Northwestern will represent the Big Ten in Pasadena, much less make a run at a spot in the Top 10. Persa and his Wildcats aren't high-profile, and that's enough to leave him off this list. Inclusion's academic either way, since this is clearly Cam Newton's to lose, but it'd be nice to see a quarterback like Persa rewarded for putting together one hell of a season so far even when he doesn't have the supporting cast to win 11 games in a season.


Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Jacobi's Insane Predictions, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Washington State, a team that's deceptively frisky even at 1-6, picks off an unsuspecting Stanford team after Andrew Luck blows his knee out in the first half. Despondent at the loss of the game and their quarterback, Stanford drops its last five games and stays home for bowl season. Wazzu, on the other hand, uh ... OK, the Cougars lose the rest of their games too. They're still not very good. After the Cardinal finishes off its six-game losing streak with a loss to Oregon State, head coach Jim Harbaugh tells reporters, "Eh. No big deal. It's just, we win or we lose, whatever. Winning is pretty overrated."

Severely Unlikely

Iowa State blows the doors off the Texas Longhorns in the first half, racing out to a 28-0 lead before hanging on for a 28-27 victory in Austin. In the ISU locker room, head coach Paul Rhoads tells his charges, "I AM SO PROUD TO BE YOUR FOOTBALL COACH," before quarterback Austen Arnaud reminds Rhoads, "Yes, we know. You told us that last year." Which Rhoads did, in fact, after the Cyclones' 9-7 win at Nebraska. Rhoads attempts the save with a "I'm still proud to be your coach," but even he knows the moment's pretty much over. The rest of the day is a pretty subdued affair for the Cyclones. Also, DKR is burned to the ground by rioting Texas fans.

Completely Preposterous

Oregon loses its game against UCLA. By forfeit. Yes, that would be confusing, since the two teams already played on Thursday and Oregon dropped 60 on the poor Bruins' defense. However, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly commits the fatal error of "filling out his scorecard incorrectly" after Rick Neuheisel claims the zero in 60 looks like another six. With Phil Mickelson acting as guest commissioner of the Pac-10 , Oregon has no choice but to forfeit the entire game. Really, the main point here is that golf is stupid. Never watch golf. The end.

Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:11 pm
 

Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck sitting in a tree

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There isn't much question that Jim Harbaugh has been a great head coach for Stanford, helping turn the program into a legitimate contender in the Pac-10.  The coach, who dreams of being Jack Bauer from time to time, also is very quick to praise his players.  In the past he's said members of his team were the kind of guy he'd want his daughter to marry.

Which is a nice thing to say, but there's another level of praise he saves for his best players.  Guys like Andrew Luck, who might be good enough to marry his daughter, but from the sounds of it, Harbaugh would rather have Luck marry him.

“I was thinking just the other night about this,” Harbaugh told reporters during the Pac-10 coaches' conference call on Tuesday . “Two people in my life, my wife and our quarterback, Andrew Luck, have a lot in common.

“They are just both perfect.  With most people you say, ‘If they only didn’t do that or do this,’ or you wish they could do this or do that. But I don’t do that with my wife Sarah or with Andrew Luck. They are both just absolutely perfect the way they are.

“For a football coach that’s pretty great, to have a great wife and a great quarterback.”

Which is an awfully nice thing of Harbaugh to say about both his wife and his quarterback, though I'm sure Luck will hear about this from teammates at some point.  I'm also pretty sure Sarah will have some words for Jim about comparing her to his quarterback.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 4:37 am
 

Midseason Report: Pac-10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race, and in the Pac-10, that means cleanly separating its top half from its bottom half ... and wondering if anyone can catch Oregon. Here's what's happened so far and what might happen down the stretch.

1. Oregon (6-0, 3-0) - Jeremiwho Masoli? The Ducks missed the memo that the offseason dismissal of their starting quarterback spelled the end of any national title hopes, blazing to six straight wins by an average margin of 38 points. That’s been good enough to make them the consensus No. 1 team in the polls entering the second half of the season, and for Chip Kelly to confirm (again) that no one has a better offensive mind or more talent for coaching dual-threat quarterbacks. First-year starter Darron Thomas has racked up more than 1,400 total yards in leading the Ducks to the current No. 1 ranking in total offense. But even Thomas can go overlooked next to tailback and Heisman candidate LaMichael James , the nation’s No. 1 rusher at 170 yards per-game. The Duck onslaught has overwhelmed every team unlucky enough to face it so far, including previously undefeated Stanford , who gave up 49 points in the final three quarters and lost by three full scores at Autzen. Don’t pencil the Ducks in for a national title bout just yet, though; they were outgained by 226 yards in their only serious road test to date, at Arizona State , and still have to visit three dangerous teams in USC , Cal , and Oregon State . Where the Pac-10 title is concerned, however, it’ll be a shocker if it winds up anywhere but Eugene.

2. Stanford (5-1, 2-1) - Not many coaches can claim to have done a better job over the past few seasons than Kelly, but Jim Harbaugh might be one of them. His stunning reclamation project in Palo Alto has only picked up speed in 2010 as behind potential No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck (1,538 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 65.7 completion percentage), the Cardinal haven’t missed a beat without departed Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. UCLA was embarrassed 35-0, Notre Dame bludgeoned 37-14. and USC out-shot 37-35. The 73rd-ranked rush defense could stand to find more consistency, but with Arizona and Oregon State both coming to Stanford Stadium, the Cardinal could nonetheless be favored in their final six games. 10 or even 11 wins are within reach ... though with Oregon holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, it'll take some major help to reach Pasadena.

3. Arizona (5-1, 2-1)
- The Pac-10 has the Wildcats to thank for the conference’s most impressive non-league win to-date, the wire-to-wire 34-27 win over otherwise-undefeated No. 13 Iowa . But Arizona hasn’t been nearly as impressive in conference play, escaping Cal 10-9 on a last-minute touchdown, losing at home to Oregon State 29-27, and sleepwalking past hapless Washington State 24-7. Quarterback Nick Foles has been outstanding, completing better than 75 percent of his passes and averaging 267 yards a game. But now Foles is due to miss three weeks with a knee injury, and the ‘Cats haven’t been able to get key senior running back Nic Grigsby (340 yards this season) on track. With road trips to Stanford and Oregon still to come, Mike Stoops will have to recapture the magic of the Iowa game in a hurry to keep the Wildcats a factor in the Pac-10 race.

4. Oregon State (3-3, 2-1) - Give the Beavers this: no one in the country has played a more difficult schedule. There’s no shame in losing competitive games on the road at top-5 outfits like TCU and Boise State, and not a whole lot in being a two-point conversion away from a thrilling win at Washington . But there’s not that much respect in being only .500, either, even with a big road win at Arizona. And with James Rodgers out for the season, it’s worth asking if the Beavers have enough offensive firepower to hang with anyone in their brutal USC-Stanford-Oregon closing stretch. Still, Mike Riley 's teams usually improve as the season progresses, and quarterback Ryan Katz has shown flashes of brilliance (most notably in the 390 yard upset in Tucson). The Beavers will still have their say in how the Pac-10 ultimately plays out. They always do.

5. USC (5-2, 2-2) - Maybe we should include Washington in this space. After all, the Huskies both beat the Trojans at the Coliseum and stand a half-game ahead of USC in the Pac-10 standings. But it’s hard to take a team that’s lost to a flatly terrible BYU squad and Arizona State (at home!) all that seriously. The Trojans, on the other hand, are two field goals -- one Washington’s, one Stanford’s, both on the final play of the game -- away from being undefeated. And the way Matt Barkley is throwing the ball these days (742 yards, 8 touchdowns, no interceptions the last two weeks) and freshman Robert Woods is catching it (19 receptions, 340 yards, 5 touchdowns those same two weeks), it’s safe to call Lane Kiffin ’s team the one in the Pac-10 that no one would want to play. Just ask Cal. Then again: how dangerous can the Trojans really be if Monte Kiffin ’s 90th-ranked defense doesn’t stop allowing the occasional 500-yard game? USC could upset Oregon in L.A. and enter the final week of the season in contention for a championship, or they could be mathematically eliminated in another two weeks. Anything is possible here.

Prediction: Sorry, Ducks fans: the guess here is that Oregon won't become the first Pac-10 team other than USC to advance to the BCS championship game. Even the best offenses can have off-games on the road, and that defense -- which was gouged for 600 yards in Tempe and another 518 against Stanford -- isn't going to be able to take up the slack. Whether at Los Angeles, Berkeley, or Corvallis, Oregon is due to trip up somewhere.

But they won't trip up twice, which means that they'll still be able to settle for a second straight Pac-10 championship and Rose Bowl berth. Stanford will crack double-digit wins, but it won't be enough, and perhaps maybe not even enough to push the race into the season's final week.

Everyone else? Three conference losses at the minimum, though USC will end the season with a ton of momentum and the consensus honor of being the league's third-best team.



Posted on: October 11, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Video: Andrew Luck goes hard in the paint

Posted by Chip Patterson

The No. 14 Stanford Cardinal found themselves pushed to the brink against the Trojans on Saturday.  USC came into the game motivated, with memories of the 55-21 beat down they received from the Cardinal in the Coliseum fresh in their mind.  The Trojans came close to returning the favor, taking a 35-34 lead on Allen Bradford's touchdown run with 1:08 remaining in the game.  Andrew Luck answered with an 8 play, 62 yard drive to set up kicker Nate Whitaker for the game winning field goal as time expired.  

But Luck had already made his dominance known in the in-state battle near the end of the first half.  After Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor fumbled on the USC 34 yard line, senior cornerback Shareece Wright scooped the ball and took off with open field ahead.  Wright got about seven yards before he was met by the 6-4 235 pound Luck, who delivers one of the hardest quarterback tackles in recent memory.

Luck is arguably the top quarterback prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft and an essential piece to Stanford's success, so it might not be encouraged to repeat this particular move.  But for the moment, in this kind of game, it was awesome.



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Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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Posted on: October 2, 2010 11:43 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 11:44 pm
 

Oregon overcomes deficit to top Stanford 52-31

Posted by Chip Patterson

For a quarter, the Oregon offense was caught with no answers for an inspired Stanford defensive unit.  The Ducks trailed 21-3 at the end of the first 15 minutes of play before things got clicking for the Ducks.  The Cardinal turned turnovers into point, capitalizing on an early interception and fumble recovery to jump out to the early lead.  But once Darron Thomas and LaMichael James got comfortable, the tables turned for Stanford.

Thomas was 20 for 29 for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Ducks, with James adding 257 yards on the ground and three touchdowns himself.  Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck looked sharp when he had a lead to work with, but once they fell behind began to make some mental mistakes and force throws.  Luck remains one of the best quarterbacks in college football, the Oregon defense deserves a lot of credit for their halftime adjustments.  

The Ducks have made a statement to the nation and to themselves, with Stanford behind them it is not unreasonable to start considering the possibilities of Oregon becoming a player in the national title discussion.

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Posted on: September 25, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 7:29 pm
 

Stanford keeps on rolling under Harbaugh

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For the first time in the school's history the Stanford Cardinal beat Notre Dame for the second consecutive year, ending their seven-game losing streak in South Bend in the process.  Stanford didn't have much trouble in their 37-14 thumping of the Irish on Saturday, in fact, the Cardinal were their own worst enemy at times.

Andrew Luck didn't have his best game of the season, completing only 59% of his passes for 238 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but he did help lead the Cardinal to 404 yards of total offense.  Considering the three turnovers and lack of execution at times inside Notre Dame territory, the 37 points Stanford managed to put on the board were quite impressive.

Had they played mistake free football they could have easily maintained the 51.7 points per game average they had heading into the contest.

Also the fact that Stanford can look this good even when not playing at its best is a testament to the type of team Jim Harbaugh has put together in Palo Alto.  With the way this Stanford team has played in all facets of the game through four weeks there is no reason not to consider them a legitimate threat to win the Pac-10 this year.

Yes, Oregon and USC still remain in the way -- in fact, they're Stanford's next two opponents -- but neither of those teams will be taking Stanford lightly when they face the Cardinal.  This 2010 team is likely the best one Harbaugh has had since taking over the program.  He has another bonafide Heisman candidate in Luck, and though he has a tendency to do things that get under his opponents' skin, you can't argue with the results he's had so far.

Results he'll be looking to improve on the next two weeks.

Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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