GLENDALE, Ariz. — One of the more ballyhooed college quarterbacking careers ended here late Monday night.
And it ended with a loss for Stanford's Andrew Luck.
“I'm as much to blame as the next guy,” Luck said after Oklahoma State's 41-38 Fiesta Bowl victory the Cardinal.
Luck's mechanics don't need much work; he's easily the top prospect for the April draft. But his ability to analyze a game evidently needs some fine-tuning.
That was a statement made by a player being overly hard on himself, considering Cardinal kicker Jordan Williamson missed a mid-range field goal that would have won the game at the end of regulation.
If you look at a stat sheet, it's impossible to believe what Luck said. If you watched the game, it becomes downright laughable.
Luck went 27 for 31 for 347 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second-highest yardage total of the year and it tied his fewest number of incompletions in 2011.
“He played as good as he could have played tonight,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.
But Luck's career at Stanford will be remembered for what he did over the course of the past three seasons, to get the Cardinal to BCS games the past two years and prop up a middling program.
“Since he's officially not completely mine anymore, I will completely go over the top,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “He's a hall-of-fame college football player. They come around every 20 years or so.”
So much so that the Indianapolis Colts, who still have an NFL hall of famer on the roster, are feeling compelled to take Luck in the spring. Who wants to be the team to pass on the high school valedictorian who was a Heisman finalist each of the past two years?
He's a marketing dream, a team leader. Oh, and he's a pretty good passer, too.
Luck was particularly surgical in the second half against OSU, helping Stanford to convert six of its first seven third-down-conversion tries.
Five were Luck passes. One was a Luck scramble.
“Andrew's a special player,” Gundy said. “There's a lot of talk about Andrew Luck, and I don't question anything that people say about him.”
Some were surprised when Luck chose to come back for another year at Stanford, to get his degree and put off the NFL. That was the case especially considering his coach and mentor, former Pro Bowler Jim Harbaugh, left to coach the San Francisco 49ers.
But did return. And he said late Monday night, even after a painful loss in a big game, that he'd do it again.
“It was worth it,” Luck said. “Not that I enjoyed every moment, because I didn't. But I would never regret it. I grew as a person, a player. I learned a lot. … It was definitely worth it.”