Stanford seemed almost flawless on both sides of the ball, scoring touchdowns on its first four possessions and completely smothering the UW offense.
Oh, by the way, a WSU official told me last week there’s a ton of tickets left for the Apple Cup.
Presumably, by Dec. 4, either the Huskies or Cougars will have scored again, something that escaped their reach Saturday. Washington’s half of the indignity was a 41-0 loss to Stanford, marking the program’s first shutout at home since 1976, or about when Joe Paterno was a young boy.
“A shutout,” said Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov, “is the greatest thing a defense can do.”
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Prevailing wisdom is that what Jim Harbaugh, the Stanford coach, really wants to do is move on someday to the NFL, like his brother John, who coaches the Ravens. Funny, the Huskies may have thought he was already coaching in the pros.
Stanford seemed almost flawless on both sides of the ball, scoring touchdowns on its first four possessions and completely smothering the UW offense. So feckless were the Huskies against the Cardinal defense that they ran a mere 42 snaps.
All of it made for a buoyant Harbaugh in a holding area between the Stanford locker room and the media awaiting the Cardinal.
“Dominating!” Harbaugh hooted at his players. “We kicked their ass every which way! One hell of a job on both sides of the line! Dominant, dominant!”
Then Harbaugh referenced Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and the UW head coach’s defensive coordinator, Nick Holt, and said, “What are you guys, 5-1, 6-1 against that group (in his four-year tenure)? That’s the highest-paid coaching staff around!”
An exquisitely prepared Stanford team drew strength at its hotel from a familiar figure around here. Randy Hart, the Stanford defensive-line coach, spoke to the team about effort and execution and togetherness.
He was around the UW 21 years, on the staffs of Don James and Jim Lambright and Rick Neuheisel and Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham. On this day, he was with somebody else.
” ‘Effort is the price of admission,’ ” Skov said, echoing Hart’s words. ” ‘But to get to where you want to go, you have to execute.’ He was fired up. (But) I think he’d be fired up no matter who he was playing.”
“It resonated with our players,” said Harbaugh. “I know it did with me. We learn something from Randy every day.”
Hart, never the glory-seeker, mostly deferred comment as he exited.
“Great team win,” he said. “Good kids. I’m a lucky guy.”
Andrew Luck was everything advertised. He threw for a modest 192 yards, but managed the game perfectly. I’m not sure he made a mistake until he overthrew tight end Konrad Reuland on an out pattern. By then, it was 38-0 and there was 9:35 left, and Luck probably shouldn’t have been in the game.
Luck had started the day’s bacchanal for his team. On a third-and-two at the Stanford 49 in the first quarter, he pulled the ball from running back Stepfan Taylor’s midsection on a zone read, darted to his left in front of the UW bench and cruised 51 yards down the sideline to make it 7-0.
“I read the defensive end and he crashed (down) to take the running back,” said Luck. “Konrad had a great block on the edge and I cut inside him. Stepfan did a great job carrying his fake out. I don’t think many people realized I had the ball.”
“Incredible fake by Andrew,” said Harbaugh. “I thought Stepfan had it for 20 yards.
“Let’s open up this Heisman discussion a little bit. This Andrew Luck is a great, great football player.”
The Luck-Jake Locker faceoff didn’t amount to much, and Luck gave the UW quarterback his due.
“Jake’s a great guy,” he said. “I loved getting to hang out with him this summer (at Pac-10 events). I told him to keep his head up. Hopefully we’ll see each other down the road.”
About that last UW shutout in Seattle: It came in Don James’ second year, 7-0 against Cal, and emblematic of the day, there was a play on which Warren Moon threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down, losing track of the downs.
In 2000, Moon told me he couldn’t recall the play. I suspect the Huskies aren’t going to want to remember Saturday very long, either.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org