Andrew Luck has likely temporarily slipped behind Boise State's Kellen Moore in the Heisman Trophy race, but Saturday he made a modest statement for his own candidacy. Moore has been rock solid through two starts and has a "signature win" against Georgia to give him a modest boost. However, with conference play opening up, Andrew Luck (and other big conference players) will be in a position to gain back any ground lost to Moore.
Luck and the Cardinal battled for much of the first three quarters of the game as they simply could not shake loose a tough Arizona team. The Cardinal held a 16-10 lead midway through the third and had ridden their offensive line to that lead. The Wildcats missed a pair of field goals that could have tied the game and were threatening to spring an upset.
However, late in the third quarter the Stanford offense finally clicked and proceeded to roll through Arizona for the final twenty minutes of regulation. Luck took advantage of a lot of what the Wildcats gave him underneath and rolled up impressive stats doing so. He finished the day 20/31 for 325 yards and two touchdowns and more importantly, the Cardinal stayed unbeaten. It's kind of ridiculous to consider it, but an unbeaten record acts as a strong positive for Luck's candidacy. The rushing attack may be a key to that, but Luck will get additional bonus points from some voters even if that strikes some folks as utterly ridiculous.
For some voters, Luck still has to prove he can more consistently hit intermediate and long passes. He has been able to dink and dunk a fair amount through three games thanks to a strong rushing attack backing him. If he is going to secure the Heisman, and more importantly, the number one pick in the draft, he'll need to start hitting the deeper stuff a bit more.
The Cardinal have a bye this week and follow that with back-to-back home games against UCLA and Colorado. Washington State and Washington follow that. While USC and Oregon are viewed as Luck's biggest tests, the Cougars and Huskies might have something to say about it if they can show some consistency the next few weeks.
For more on Stanford, check out Rule of Tree.