Stanford Notre Dame

November 27, 2011 by staff 

Stanford Notre DameStanford Notre Dame, David Shaw did not even wait for the first question at Saturday night’s postgame news conference before beginning his stump speech.

“There’s no player in America like Andrew Luck. There really isn’t,” the Stanford coach said after his star quarterback/Heisman hopeful went 20-of-30 for 233 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in his team’s season-ending 28-14 win over Notre Dame. “Forget about the stats, forget about the comparisons to other guys or whatever. It doesn’t matter.”

Shaw, of course, is hardly an unbiased observer. First as Luck’s position coach, now as his head coach, he’s watched from the sideline as the goofy, bearded Texan has led the Cardinal to unprecedented heights — consecutive 11-1 regular seasons, another Top 5 ranking come Sunday and, most likely, a second straight BCS bowl berth, this time in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl. He’s watched his finely polished quarterback develop into a projected No. 1 NFL draft pick, accruing a mastery of Stanford’s dense playbook unlike any quarterback in the country, changing plays at the line, constantly keeping his team out of bad spots.

“The kid is the definition of what you would want at the quarterback position in all facets,” said Shaw.

Yet the decision facing Heisman voters over the next 10 days is far more vexing than Shaw would have you believe. Once the presumptive favorite, Luck is now just one of many qualified contenders in the most jumbled race in recent memory — one that seems to fluctuate by the hour. Last week Baylor’s Robert Griffin III seemed to jump to the top of the pack. Saturday evening against Texas Tech he suffered a head injury and missed the second half, unfortunate timing seeing as much of the country had spent the afternoon watching either Alabama’s Trent Richardson rush for 203 yards against Auburn or Wisconsin’s Montee Ball raise his season touchdown total by four — to 34 — in a division-clinching rout of Penn State.

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