PALO ALTO, Calif., -- Is it worth getting picky over a pick? Stanford coach David Shaw thinks so.
That’s why he wanted to wait and watch the game film before making any sort of judgment on Andrew Luck’s first and only interception of the season, which came in the final five minutes of the first half Saturday against Duke.
Shaw said his initial thought was that there might have been pass interference.
With the Cardinal clinging to a 10-0 lead, it looked like they might be poised for another score before the break (which they did after enduring a surprise Duke onside kick and a great effort from the defense).
On third-and-8 at the Duke 38 yard line, Luck was working from the shotgun in a four-receiver set. The blocking wasn't airtight and Luck took a hit after he threw the ball. But he had enough time to pump fake a drag to wide receiver Griff Whalen before looking to Chris Owusu on a 7-yard up-and-in. I counted, unofficially, four seconds from snap to throw.
The pass looked to be a little behind Owusu, though not outlandishly uncatchable. It bounced, and then fell right into the hands of Duke’s Lee Butler, who went 76 yards untouched for the score. It was Luck’s first pick-six since at Arizona in 2009.
At question is whether the defender on Owusu, Duke’s Johnny Williams, was getting a little too handsy.
“I need to see that one that was intercepted,” Shaw said. “It looked like there was a lot of contact on Chris Owusu. The ball wasn’t that high and he couldn’t get up. Whether it was pass interference or not? We’ll need to watch it on film.”
As the pocket started to collapse, Luck said he felt the pressure – and he had been hit a few times leading up to that point. He took the blame – as any quarterback worth their salt should do on an interception – regardless of who is at fault.
“That was truly a poor decision that might have come about by them having a little more pressure,” Luck said. “But it’s something I wish I could take back. But maybe the pressure did have a correlation with that play.”
Have a look at the play and decide for yourself if there was pass interference.
Watch it all the way through, and appreciate the hustle from running back Stepfan Taylor. He didn't get there in time, but you have to love that he didn't give up on the play.