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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Stanford offense runs over UA

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Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA loss to Stanford Saturday, September 17, 2011 at Arizona Stadium

Think of the qualities that come with your ideal car. Not too big, good bang for your buck, not too flashy and always dependable. You want something that can take you from point A to B safely and smoothly.

For Stanford head coach David Shaw, running back Stepfan Taylor is a prime example of his dream car, and Taylor was in four-wheel drive for the No. 5 Cardinal’s 37-10 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night in Tucson.

“Stepfan’s our Cadillac, as our offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton started calling him,” Shaw said after the game. “He’s just the car that you trust, you know what you’re going to get.”

Shaw’s trust in his junior back was exemplified in Taylor’s 153 yards on 22 carries over the course of the game.

“He’s going to be steady for you and when it’s there he’ll break a big one,” Shaw said. “He was awesome tonight.”

Despite not crossing the goal line, Taylor’s bull mentality behind a rock solid offense line dominated the Arizona run defense.

“(Taylor’s) patient, he’s quick, he’s got a low center of gravity,” Shaw said. “He finishes runs going forward. He’s not the biggest guy but he’ll drag a tackler for another couple of yards.”

Taylor’s ability to move the ball kept the Stanford pro-style offense intact and the dynamic ground game was able to open up the play-action for quarterback Andrew Luck, who had another solid outing in throwing 20-of-31 completions for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite Luck missing one of his favorite targets in tight end Coby Fleener, who went down with concussion-like symptoms in the first quarter and never returned, the Cardinal quarterback still managed to pick apart the Arizona defensive scheme by the game’s end.

For the majority of the first half, it seemed like Luck didn’t have his typical pocket presence and the Wildcats capitalized on it. They were able to pick up their coverages and play as a solid unit, something that hasn’t happened too much so far this season.

Arizona managed to only allow one touchdown and force three field goals throughout the first 30 minutes of regulation.

But as the game wore on, so did the Wildcat defense.

Luck turned back into his dominant self and put the Cardinal in position to score 21 unanswered points in the second half.

The emergence of tight end Levine Toilolo, who led the Cardinal with 102 yards on only 4 receptions, was obviously something that the Wildcats didn’t prepare for.

Several times over Toilolo found himself deep in the slot without a Wildcat defender within 10 yards of him.

Nobody on the Wildcats’ defense decided to pick him up, and Luck made them pay. In the first play of the fourth quarter, Luck snapped the ball, found Toilolo completely uncovered, and the tight end ran it into the end zone.

“You get to show the tight ends some love every now and then for working hard in the trenches when they catch a ball,” Luck said after the game.

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