Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) – Owen Marecic’s touchdown with just over five minutes to play helped seventh-ranked Stanford take a 17-13 win over Arizona State in Pac-10 play.
Marecic scored both touchdowns while Andrew Luck went 33-for-41 with 292 yards and an interception for the Cardinal (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10), who have won their past five games after dropping a 52-31 decision at Oregon on October 2. Doug Baldwin had 10 catches for 122 yards.
“They are just a darn good football team,” said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. “We talked about it, it’s easily an 8-2, 9-1 type of team right now, and our guys prepared for that. They knew it was going to be a 60-minute, football fight. I think this is the kind of game that brings your guys together. You rely on each other, you trust in each other, and every play is critical. They feel good about each other now after that game, and the reason they do is that they know they themselves and their teammates played like champions.”
Steven Threet was 16-for-26 with 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Sun Devils (4-6, 2-5), who have lost three of their last four games. Cameron Marshall had 12 carries for 92 yards in the loss while Threet also ran in a score.
“No question about it, it’s as good of a defensive effort as we have had this year,” said Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. “We created turnovers and had a lot of opportunities obviously. Offensively we’re not very productive as far as getting points on the board. We had some opportunities, we were down there in the first half and ended up turning it over. Thats the story of the game. You turn it over, you get some penalties at the end of the game and you end up losing.”
Trailing by three points with 10:36 to play, Stanford started the winning drive at its own 15 and a 13-yard catch from Konrad Reuland on 3rd-and-1 got the ball into Arizona State territory. The Cardinal were helped on a personal foul penalty to Arizona State on a Baldwin catch and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to the Sun Devils made it 1st-and-goal.
Two plays later, Marecic plunged into the end zone from a yard out for a 17-13 lead with 5:14 to play.
Arizona State was forced to punt on its next possession and Stanford killed off the rest of the clock to seal the win.
Stanford took the lead on its first drive of the game as a nine-play, 50- yard march was capped on a one-yard run by Marecic for a 7-0 lead with 9:45 left in the first. The drive featured a 14-yard catch by Ryan Whalen on 3rd- and-6.
Arizona State answered on its next drive when Threet took the ball in himself from four yards out with 7:45 to play in the first. The score was setup on the previously play by a 30-yard catch from Gerell Robinson.
The score remained that way until the third quarter when Nate Whitaker booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Cardinal a 10-7 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the third.
Arizona State, though, responded to take the lead on its next touch as Threet found Kerry Taylor on an eight-yard score to make it a 13-10 contest with 4:43 to play as Thomas Weber missed the extra point.
Stanford plays at California next Saturday…Arizona State has off next week and will then host UCLA on November 26…The Sun Devils still lead the series with Stanford, 16-11…Stanford outgained Arizona State, 420-268 and controlled the ball for over 42 minutes.