Blog Entry

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

Posted on: November 13, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 1:28 am

Posted by Bryan Fischer

STANFORD, Calif. -- Heisman moments tend not to just happen, they're built up. Sure they'll catch you off guard from time-to-time but they rarely just come out of nowhere to the front of our collective concious.

Every bit of the listed 6-foot-4, 237-pounds, Andrew Luck was deemed better than any of his peers or predeessors by pundits, NFL coaches, general managers and scouts. For every two minute drive, red zone touchdown or play action fake, it was a work art. Saturday's game against Oregon was supposed to be his. Another trip to New York was certain but, in Stanford's biggest game in decades, this was supposed to be his moment.

It wasn't.

"Not good enough to win," Luck said, in an aww-shucks manner, of his performance in a 53-30 loss. "Worst game of the year I guess."

Statistically, you could make the argument it wasn't. Realistically? It's hard to think of anybody giving Luck as much trouble as the Ducks' defense did. Pressured all night, he finished 27-for-41 for 271 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw a pick six. He lost a fumble. He was sacked. He was un-Luck like but wasn't unlucky.

"They do present some exotic formations, such as four guys to one side and what not," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We talked about it as a staff how to handle it, making plays."

Luck didn't have to be great on his home field to wrap up college football's most prestigious trophy but he did have to be good. Playing from behind entire night, it was clear that the future top draft pick lacked any kind of wide receiver to stretch the field and even his normally reliable tight ends dropped several passes to slow momentum as the nation's longest winning streak fell just as hard as the Cardinal's outside chance at playing for the national title.

"I knew it wasn't going to be a cake walk," Luck said. "I had no grand delusion of it for our team. We still have football left and, for that, I'm grateful."

Credit Luck for having a space between the two words, college quarterback, that describe him every Saturday though. Despite losing to the only team to beat him the past two years, he was as even-keeled as ever afterward, answering questions about a difficult loss like they were the easy questions one of his midterms.

"It's disappointing obviously. You always want to have a good game," he said. "A disappointment, yes, but life goes on. We have two more big ball games coming up."

There was no Heisman moment on the slippery turf for the signal-caller but that doesn't mean he has no chance of hoisting college football's most prestigious award up in New York. The clear front-runner when the day began, he's likely to keep his spot at or near the top of most lists but there's no question that every turnover against Oregon made others' chances that much better.

"This game is not fatal to Luck's Heisman hopes," said Chris Huston, who runs "Voters will not blame him for this loss. The Heisman race is an individual award and, while Luck will lose some ground, he remains the favorite."

In some minds the only one to put on a performance worthy of the award was LaMichael James, who rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns as he continues to return to form following an elbow injury. Enough to get back in the discussion, maybe, but if you're looking for a moment in the game it was undoubtedly on one of James' long runs.

"His missing two games this year killed his Heisman chances," Huston added. "He just won't have the numbers to come close to winning."

For James, the 23 point win might be enough for another trip to the Heisman ceremony. For Luck, the 23 point loss might be enough to hold him back from bringing the trophy home.


Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 4:54 pm

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

It'll be fun if all the Heisman candidates are on teams with at least one loss. Whoever decided that a perfect season was a Heisman prerequisite?

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 4:16 pm

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

I will say it before and I will say it again because it bears repeating. If Andrew Luck is not assured of being drafted by the 49ers he will not enter next year's draft. After all he DOES have one more year of eligibility left...perhaps even more. Since he is working on his graduate degree. If Pete Carroll thinks that he will "luck" out and be able to draft Jim Harbaugh's protege rather than Carroll's own promising, but somewhat underwhelming prospect (Barkley has been overshadowed by some guy named Casey Keenum from some lower tier college) Carroll is in for a rude awakening.

Since: Nov 13, 2011
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:45 pm

Case Keenum for the Heisman!

Case Keenum for the Heisman!

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 12:15 pm

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

Falls back to the pack???  Wait a minute - the media told me he is the best ever or at least in the last 25 years!!!   The 2 games I've watched he hasn't looked near as good as either QB who plays in the State of Oklahoma.  He's made some bad decisions.  I am not impressed.

Since: Sep 18, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:49 am

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

No cr*p.  Besides his terrible knack for extreme bias, he often has no clue what is going on down on the field.  I feel bad for Herbstreit who can't win - if he corrects Mustardberger, he's upstaging him; if he doesn't, then he's part of the commentary disaster.  This is much like Madden trying to deal with the incoherent Summerall in the last couple years of his career. Brent, do us a favor and stay in the studio, if you still want to work.

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:47 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:31 am

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

Highlights were pathetic. Show some Stanford highlights, you only showed maybe 1 or 2. Come on.

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 9:48 am

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

It's time for Musburger to retire. He doesn't have a clue anymore. Not that he ever did.

Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:22 am

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

It amazes me how people who are supposed to know football forget to factor in the value of a running game and a good defense into a QB's rating. Stanford has both. I have always thought that Luck was over-rated (at least a little). If a team has a good running game then their receivers get more one-on-one coverage. If a team has a good defense then they are often ahead, which means that the QB doesn't have to force the ball into good coverage. There are many examples in the NFL of QBs who came from college teams that were good due to defense and their running games. As a minimum they are slightly overrated. Matt Leinhart, Mark Sanchez, Eric Couch, Troy Smith, Jason White, Chris Weinke come to mind (although some of them were not heavily touted as pro-material (like Tebow).

In the Pros I think Rothlesberger and Rivers have often been slightly overrated. The Jets can't run and Sanchez looks ordinary. Rivers is suddenly a lousy QB now that SD's defense is pourous. Alex Smith is suddenly a good QB now that SF has a good defense. Oakland is rushing better and suddenly Campbell is better. Same with Buffalo.

Some of the most respected QBs of all time, like Joe Montana, were on teams that substituted in third string QBs with little loss in performance. In my mind Joe was good, not great. Cassel looked good in New England, then sucked when he left. How would Brady do somewhere else? 

  Well, I've probably overstated my case.

All that said, one bad day doesn't significantly change Luck's value. All QBs (except maybe Aaron Rodgers) have bad days.  

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 6:19 am

Heisman race heats up as Luck falls back to pack

This is the guy that hs the whole football world going nuts over? 

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