Even without Luck, Stanford a Top-10 team again

Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes (6) throws against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

September 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
David Shaw and his Stanford players spent the past nine months telling anybody who would listen that the program had enough talent and depth without Andrew Luck to be a national power for years to come.

Now they have everybody's attention.

While it's only the third game of the season, Stanford's 21-14 victory over Southern California on Saturday night showed life without Luck might not be so bad after all. The Cardinal (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) jumped from No. 21 to ninth in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, while the Trojans (2-1, 0-1) dropped from second to 13th.

The same formula that propelled Stanford to an improbable football power has stayed true: a powerful running game, run defense and timely plays from the tight ends.