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Stanford quarterback Luck poses more challenges

The third-year sophomore showed last season at the Coliseum that he is capable of hurting the Trojans with his legs as well as his right arm.

October 04, 2010|By Gary Klein

It doesn't get any easier for USC.

A week after failing to slow down Washington quarterback Jake Locker, the Trojans face No. 16 Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Luck is not considered to be quite the same dual-purpose threat as the speedy Locker, but the third-year sophomore showed last season at the Coliseum that he is capable of hurting the Trojans with his legs as well as his right arm.

Luck passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns and repeatedly escaped pressure to run for 61 yards and another touchdown as USC gave up more points than any Trojans team ever in a 55-21 loss.

Luck is ranked 16th nationally in total offense and 21st in passing efficiency. He is completing 63% of his attempts and has passed for 13 touchdowns, with four interceptions, for a team that averages 44.6 points a game.

In last week's 52-31 loss at Oregon, Luck was 29 for 46 for 341 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. He also ran for 39 yards and scored a touchdown.

Luck is second in the Pacific 10 Conference in passing efficiency, just behind USC's Matt Barkley.

Last season against the Cardinal, Barkley lost a fumble and had three passes intercepted, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

Position battle

USC Coach Lane Kiffin is reopening the competition at kicker between Joe Houston and Jake Harfman.

Houston has made only two of six field-goal attempts. His 40-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter against Washington hit the right upright, setting the stage for the Huskies' game-winning drive.

"I accept responsibility and I feel terrible," Houston said after the game.

Houston said the kick "felt good" when he contacted the ball. "The second you look up, it started tailing a little bit and the next thing I know, it hit the upright," he said.

Stanford's Nate Whitaker has made all nine of his field-goal attempts.

Washington aftermath

Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that former USC coach Pete Carroll called him after Saturday night's victory over the Trojans.

"You've got to remember, Pete's a defensive guy," Sarkisian told the Seattle Times during his weekly news conference. "I think he would have preferred the score to be a little lower. He was happy for us.''

Sarkisian said he spoke to Kiffin for about an hour Sunday.

"Now that that hurdle's over, that we played each other, now we can really share with each other thoughts about each other's teams and upcoming opponents," he said.

Regarding Locker, Sarkisian said Kiffin told him, "He wished he would have come out and gone pro last year."

Quick hits

USC tailback Allen Bradford is fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 100 yards a game…. Kiffin on Stanford's defense in the aftermath of the Cardinal's loss at Oregon: "I think Oregon could put up 52 on the New York Giants, so I don't think that really means much." … USC resumes practice Tuesday after having Monday off.

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