Andrew Luck completes 81-yard TD pass as Stanford drops Sacramento State

STANFORD, Calif. -- Andrew Luck threw a career-high four touchdown passes in helping Stanford win its first game without Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart, beating Sacramento State 52-17 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Luck completed 17 of 23 passes for 316 yards, including an 81-yard scoring toss to Doug Baldwin and a 59-yard touchdown to Stepfan Taylor. Luck also threw TD passes of 15 yards to Baldwin and 5 yards to Zach Ertz.

Kyle Monson returned a punt 70 yards for a score and Curtis Shaw rushed for a touchdown for the Hornets. Chris Diniz matched his career-best with a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Jeremy Stewart, Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson each scored a touchdown for the Cardinal. They were among several running backs used by Stanford, which gained 213 yards, 82 in the first half, on the ground.

Baldwin caught four passes for 111 yards.

Luck more than made up through the air what Gerhart once provided on the ground. He was 14 of 18 for 301 yards in the first half, and that was without wide receiver Chris Owusu, who missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The 316 yards was Luck's second-highest game total, behind his 423 yards last year at Arizona.

The Cardinal scored on their first two possessions to open a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Stanford needed seven plays to march 75 yards after taking the opening kickoff. Stewart went the final yard.

The Cardinal took over on their own 15-yard line on its next possession. After Luck ran for 4 yards, he connected with Baldwin on an 81-yard scoring toss, the longest Stanford TD pass in 10 years and the eighth-longest in school history.

Monson had Sacramento State's first punt return for a touchdown in seven years.

UCLA transfer McLeod Bethel-Thompson opened at quarterback for the Hornets, completing 9 of 15 passes for 69 yards. He made his collegiate debut against Stanford three years ago. Jeff Fleming replaced him in the second half, adding 44 yards on 6-of-12 passing.

Alex Loukas, who replaced Luck at quarterback late in the third quarter, finished as Stanford's top rusher (57 yards) thanks to a 48-yard gain on a broken play.

Bryan Hillard made his first appearance in two years. The Hornets' leading rusher in 2008 missed last season with a shoudler injury.

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