By Josh Dubow
AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, CA (AP) – Andrew Luck threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 10 Stanford to a 42-17 victory in its highly anticipated showdown with 13th-ranked Arizona on Saturday night.
Stepfan Taylor added four short touchdown runs for the Cardinal (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10), who won easily in the first meeting with Arizona (7-2, 4-2) when both teams were ranked.
The Cardinal are enjoying their best season in 40 years and are alone in second place in the Pac-10, keeping alive their hopes for a Rose Bowl bid if they can win their final three games. Stanford would also need No. 1 Oregon to lose twice in order to win the conference or hope the Rose Bowl is not obligated to take a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference.
The players say they are not concerned about bowl bids and BCS rankings right now, focusing only on the task at hand each week. They did a good job of that against an Arizona team having its best season in years.
Luck masterfully executed the offense, which put up six touchdowns and 516 yards against the stingiest defense in the Pac-10. Chris Owusu was especially dangerous with nine catches for 165 yards and a score, as well as a key 12-yard run. Stanford also allowed no sacks to a team that led the league with 27 coming into the game.
The defense also did a good job against the Wildcats, who didn’t get the offense moving until it was far too late despite the return of injured quarterback Nick Foles.
Foles threw for 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception, with his biggest success coming when the Wildcats went to the no-huddle offense with a big deficit in the second half. Keola Antolin ran for 86 yards and another score on a night starting running back Nic Grigsby played sparingly because of a sprained right ankle.
The Cardinal were still smarting over last year’s loss at Arizona, when they allowed two big fourth-quarter touchdown runs in a 43-38 shootout. They built a 21-3 halftime lead in the rematch and didn’t let up. Stanford scored on its opening drive of the second half on a 5-yard shovel pass from Luck to Tyler Gaffney to make it 28-3.
Stanford then answered Arizona’s first touchdown of the game – a 7-yard pass from Foles to Juron Criner – with a 78-yard drive capped by Taylor’s third TD run to make it 35-10 and give the Cardinal their ninth straight 30-point game. Taylor added his fourth TD with 3:23 to go to make it 42-17.
Stanford got off to a strong start against an Arizona defense that has had plenty of success so far this season but hadn’t faced the most dangerous offenses in the conference from Stanford, Oregon and USC.
On the opening drive of the game, Owusu got behind the Wildcats’ secondary for a 45-yard touchdown pass from Luck to make it 7-0.
Taylor added a pair of TD runs in the second quarter to build the lead to 21-3 at the break. The first capped an 89-yard drive that featured an 18-yard pass from Luck to Owusu on third-and-15. The second came after Owusu gained 12 yards on a perfectly executed option play by Luck.
The Wildcats blew a couple of good scoring opportunities. They drove to the 20 on their opening drive but Foles was called for intentional grounding at the 34 and Arizona punted. A.J. Simmons dropped a potential first-down catch at the 10, stalling another drive that led to a field goal by Alex Zendejas.
Foles then drove Arizona to the 27 late in the half before he was intercepted by Richard Sherman.
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