Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) – Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, leading the 12th-ranked Stanford Cardinal to a 38-28 victory over Washington State in Pac-10 action.
Andrew Luck completed 20-of-28 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for the Cardinal (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10), who have won six of their first seven games for the first time since 1970. Ryan Whalen, Doug Baldwin and Coby Fleener had a touchdown catch apiece in the win.
“This was a good football team we played, and we did more things right than they did and won the ball game,” said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. “(I’m) always happy for a win, especially in the conference. There’s some things we’re going to have to address and get better at.”
Jeff Tuel threw for four touchdowns and 298 yards on 21-of-28 efficiency for the Cougars (1-7, 0-5), who have lost 16 straight to FBS opponents — all by 10 points or more. Marquess Wilson had six catches for 150 yards and a score, Jared Karstetter recorded nine receptions for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Marcus Richmond also caught a scoring pass.
Stanford took the lead off a turnover within three minutes of the game’s beginning and never trailed.
Tuel was intercepted on his second pass attempt, giving the Cardinal possession on the opposing seven-yard line. The hosts couldn’t find the end zone, however, and settled for Nate Whitaker’s 21-yard field goal.
Washington State punted near midfield on its next touch, and Stanford responded with an 80-yard, 13-play drive to grab a 10-0 lead. Luck kept the series moving with a 10-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10 from his own 31, then found Whalen from seven yards out on 3rd-and-goal with 4 1/2 minutes still remaining in the first quarter.
The Cougars got on the board early in the second quarter after Kevin Kooyman intercepted a Luck pass. Tuel moved Washington State 58 yards in eight plays and hit Karstetter for a 12-yard touchdown with 10 minutes until halftime.
Stanford restored its 10-point lead quickly, as Taylor accounted for 51 yards on a 73-yard drive, finishing the series with a six-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 17-7 game.
The Cardinal got one last possession in the first half with 2:48 left and drove all the way to the end zone. Aided by multiple personal fouls called on the Washington State defense, Stanford led, 24-7, at halftime after Taylor ran in from one yard away with under a minute to go.
The margin increased toward the end of the third, when a Taylor Skaufel interception led to Stanford’s 12-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 17- yard touchdown pass from Luck to Baldwin.
Tuel threw a trio of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to Richmond, Karstetter and Wilson, respectively, around Luck’s scoring toss to Fleener. Washington State never put together a serious rally, though, as the final pass to Wilson created a 10-point game with 35 seconds to play.
Each of Washington State’s last 30 losses have come by 10 points or more…Stanford leads the all-time series, 35-25-1, including five of the last seven meetings…The Cougars have lost 16 straight road games…The Cardinal controlled the clock, holding the ball for 37 minutes, 51 seconds…Whitaker is 11-for-11 on field goal attempts this season and has made 16 straight overall…Tuel was intercepted twice in the game.