2011 Orange Bowl: Stanford Dominates Virginia Tech In What Could Be Harbaugh And Luck's Final Cardinal Game

The BCS battle between the Stanford Cardinal (11-1) and Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2) went very well for Andrew Luck, and not so sunnily for players in orange helmets.

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15 Total Updates since January 1, 2011
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2011 Orange Bowl, Stanford Vs. Virginia Tech: Hokies Should Maybe Have Covered Andrew Luck & Coby Fleener

Someone on the orange-helmeted sideline in the 2011 Orange Bowl may want to consider putting a Virginia Tech body on Stanford's Coby Fleener, but first! The Tyrod Taylor show!

The Hokies decide to go with what works, with the game already largely out of reach early in the fourth quarter. Tyrod Taylor takes the first seven touches of the possession himself (six passes and a run); erstwhile phenom Ryan Williams gets a random carry, and a 15-yard penalty, an incomplete pass, and a sack on Taylor reduce the Hokies to 4th-and-42 in short order.

Stanford sets up at their own 28, but won't stay there for long: Stepfan Taylor breaks the 100-yard mark for the night with a 34-yard run, and two plays later Andrew Luck wings a 38-yard touchdown pass to Fleener. That'll do it for Stanford's quickfire quarterback, and for Virginia Tech's remaining hope of a respectable loss.

The Hokies' line is wearing thin in a hurry; Tyrod Taylor is sacked twice on the ensuing possession. Luck is stabled on the sidelines to thin applause from a rapidly-emptying stadium, and time runs out. Final score from Miami Gardens: Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12.

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2011 Orange Bowl, Stanford Vs. Virginia Tech: Andrew Luck's Third Touchdown Pass Puts Game Away

When last we saw our heroes in the 2011 Orange Bowl: It was eight minutes ago, and Andrew Luck had just winged his second touchdown pass of the evening at Coby Fleener. Here comes another, but do not adjust your dials: This is still the Orange Bowl.

Virginia Tech takes the ball at their own 2-yard line, but an early sack on Tyrod Taylor and a late incompletion on third-and-2 hand the ball back to Stanford, and the Cardinal waste little time taking advantage of another possession. The third quarter ends with Andrew Luck & Co. nearing midfield, and two minutes into the final period, Luck wings that second touchdown at Fleener, who sprints the rest of the 58 yards between him and the endzone to put the Cardinal up late, 33-12. Not too bad at all for a kid who had to grow up named "Coby."

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2011 Orange Bowl, Stanford Vs. Virginia Tech: Andrew Luck, Owen Marecic Widen Gap For Cardinal

The second half of the 2011 Orange Bowl kicks off in Sun Life Stadium to no great ceremony, and after a quiet three-and-out by Virginia Tech to open play, longtime viewers will settle back and expect another torpid quarter.

We are incorrect. The Cardinal take the field at their own 35-yard line, and on their second set of downs, Andrew Luck rattles off three consecutive passes of 10, 18, and 17 yards to rocket Stanford into the red zone. Owen Marecic makes an appearance in a pivotal role, punching in the 1-yard touchdown two plays later, but Nate Whitaker misses his second extra point of the night. With 9:30 remaining in the third quarter, Stanford leads Virginia Tech, 19-12.

 ... and we're not done! The Hokies reel off another highlight-reel play in the form of a Tyrod Taylor pass to Danny Coale, who streaks down the left sideline for a 41-yard gain, throwing a Stanford assistant to the ground in his thunderous wake.

Whatever god that coach was appeasing, it worked: Two plays later, Tyrod Taylor is intercepted, and an extraordinary two-play, 99-yard Stanford drive ensues. Stepfan Taylor gets off a 56-yard run on the Cardinal's first down, and on the very next play, Andrew Luck throws his second touchdown pass of the evening, a 41-yarder to Coby Fleener. With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Stanford leads, 26-12.

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2011 Orange Bowl, Stanford Vs. Virginia Tech: Tyrod Taylor's Acrobatic Touchdown Hands Hokies The Lead

With the most Orange Bowl score possible already achieved now that an ACC team has achieved a safety, everything else that happens tonight is icing. And right away, faithful viewers are lobbed a tub of delicious frosting.

The second quarter gets underway mid-possession for Virginia Tech, and for the first time all night, one of these teams appears to have consistent answers as far as moving the football. Several mid-range passes (and a 21-yard scramble) by Tyrod Taylor put the Hokies in comfortable scoring range, well inside Stanford's red zone, and that's about when Taylor and David Wilson do this:

[via bubbaprog]

That's a throw by a player falling out of bounds, caught for a touchdown by another player also falling out of bounds. Tyrod Taylor loves it when a plan comes together. With 10:56 remaining in the second quarter, Virginia Tech leads Stanford, 9-7.

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2011 Orange Bowl, Stanford Vs. Virginia Tech: Tipped Andrew Luck Pass Leads To Safety

The first quarter of the 2011 Orange Bowl is more than half done, and in true Orange Bowl fashion, not much is happening. Tyrod Taylor is making acrobatic throws; Andrew Luck is motoring about with his fireplug legs, but neither team has had much success advancing past third down. 

After another short-lived Virginia Tech possession, Stanford takes over pinned at their own 3-yard line. Stepfan Taylor seems to be a known quantity to the Hokies at this point, and his first two runs go nowhere. On third down, all hell breaks loose as Andrew Luck attempts a desperation heave out of his own endzone. The pass is tipped, and an offensive lineman, instead of batting the ball away, catches it and falls down for a Hokies safety. With 1:30 remaining in the first quarter, Stanford leads Virginia Tech, 7-2.

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Orange Bowl, Virginia Tech Vs. Stanford: Cardinal Strike First, Lead 7-2

The Orange Bowl is underway in Miami Gardens, and it's shaping up early to be a low-octane defensive slugfest.

On the opening play, Luck makes a nice 11-yard gain with his feet, at least three of which comes on a carry-ending slide. The Cardinal's second set of downs goes nowhere, however, and they punt the ball away. Virginia Tech, ever gracious, goes three-and-out. The Cardinal attempt a fake punt on fourth down, but Frank Beamer's Hokies, being Frank Beamer's Hokies, are ready for it, and the attempt fails spectacularly. (Only to yield possession to another VT three-and-out.)

The eight-minute mark on your DVR is about where you'll want to start paying attention to this quarter. Taylor gets a short carry on first down, a short reception on second down, and after a 21-yard catch by Baldwin on third down, motors left for a 60-yard touchdown. With 6:45 remaining in the first quarter, Stanford leads Virginia Tech, 7-0.

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