STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he throw a touchdown to Griff Whalen #17 against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Early on against Oregon, Andrew Luck was stuck trying to react to what Oregon was throwing at him, as Stanford seemed ultra-concerned by the blitzing attack that was capable of overwhelming the Cardinal frontline. They left multiple Cardinal back to defend against the rush or utilized slow-developing plays that could easily be recognized by Oregon's front. The Ducks defense was quite happy to feast on the opportunities they were given, and got heat on Luck with a few knockdowns and an interception that set up Oregon's first touchdown.
Thankfully, after all that, Andrew Luck was still Stanford's quarterback, and he was ready to start leading his Cardinal back.
Andrew Luck vs Oregon 2011 (via JMPasq)
1:56: 1st and 10, Stanford 33, 3:05 1st quarter
Cardinal with aces, TE left, 2 WR right, 1 left. Oregon in a 4-2-5 look.
Stanford abandons the max protect and puts their receivers out in the field to try and force the Ducks to cover rather than wait for the blitz to come. Fleener is Luck's first read, and once Luck notices the edge defender assigned to the tight end lets him slip and goes toward the RB, Luck delivers a quick strike to Fleener in between two Ducks and picks up a nice gain.
2:07: 1st and 10, Oregon 40, :45 1st quarter
Cardinal with aces 2 WRs, two tight ends left. Oregon in 3-3-5 look.
Bootleg executed perfectly to exploit aggressive Oregon defenders, as all front six defenders play the line and leave receivers in one-on-one coverage. H-Back Ryan Hewitt is the short read, Fleener is the intermediate read, Ty Montgomery is the sideline option. When the playside Oregon DE and LB are sucked in to take on Hewitt, Luck finds a wide-open hole to deliver the ball to Fleener.
Tight end drops it. Whoops.
2:16: 1st and 10, Stanford 19, 13:59 2nd quarter
Cardinal with I formation, 2 WR (Fleener lined wide out) & TE left. With Stanford finally managing success on the ground, Oregon stacks nine in the box, six on the line with the Ducks linebackers setting the edge. Stanford goes back tot he max protect to guard against pass rush, and they're successful here.
Herbstreit does a good job breaking down what's happening here around 2:23 of this video. With so many Ducks in the box, there are opportunities for one-on-one coverage down the field. Fleener is in the slot and draws the middle linebacker into coverage. That leaves Griff Whalen alone in one-on-one coverage, and Whalen only needs to feint to the outside to drive the Oregon defender to get the inside, where Luck delivers a precise strike to put the Cardinal on the board.
On this drive, the key to success came via the Stanford running game, with Stepfan Taylor and other Cardinal rushers picking up 54 of the 78 yards. However, you can see the Cardinal schemes starting to change to go more on the attack. There was more of an effort to use misdirection to put Oregon defenders out of position, or go to quick-striking plays to negate the Ducks team speed
The success of the ground game was what set up the touchdown though, as the defense got sucked into trying to keep Stanford from just grinding the ball down the field. Luck got the one-on-one matchup he was looking for and struck paydirt.