Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh couldn't have elevated their stock any higher. It was a masterful performance by the two Stanford Cardinal linchpins, who came out in the second half and flat out curbstomped the Virginia Tech Hokies with 27 unanswered points en route to a 40-12 victory in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
Luck hooked up with Coby Fleener a half dozen times, three times for touchdown grabs against lackluster Hokies pass defense. Luck also threw to six other Cardinal receivers purposefully (I doubt the Derek Hall safety was intentional), and his second half stats were sheer perfection: 9 for 10, 201 passing yards, three touchdowns, and finished the game 18 for 23 for 284 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Fleener finished with six catches for 172 yards and three scores. Stepfan Taylor rushed for 115 yards on 13 carries and Jeremy Stewart added 98 yards on 5 carries, as the Cardinal offense racked up 528 total yards.
The unsung hero was the defense though, as they harassed and battered Tyrod Taylor behind defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's pressure defense. Taylor was sacked an impressive EIGHT times: Shayne Skov had 2.5, Delano Howell two, Chase Thomas 1.5, Thomas Keiser and Owen Marecic one apiece. Other than that excellent throw by Taylor, the Cardinal defense shut Virginia Tech out of the end zone and shut down the Hokies run game. Virginia Tech rushed for only 65 yards on 34 carries, and Darren Evans managing a mere 39 yards on 12 carries. Taylor was decent, completing 16 of 34 passes, 223 yards and 1 touchdown, but the Howell interception effectively ended the game.
Now the offseason begins, and change may be coming in leaps and bounds after perhaps the greatest season in Stanford football history.