Arizona's first-ever Pac-12 Conference game felt oddly, sickly familiar.
Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Stepfan Taylor rushed for a career-high 153 yards as the sixth-ranked Cardinal defeated the Arizona Wildcats 37-10 tonight in front of 49,636 fans at Arizona Stadium.
The Cardinal led 16-10 at halftime before piling on in the second half. The team's yardage bonanza with two of Stanford's best players out. Tight end Coby Fleener appeared to suffer a concussion in the first quarter, and did not return. The Cardinal lost linebacker Shayne Skov to a knee injury in the first half.
The Wildcats passed like crazy, put up some impressive yards - and missed kicks when they needed to hit them.
Jaime Salazar was wide as he attempted a 37-yard field goal that would have cut Stanford's lead to 16-13 in the third quarter. The miss was his second of the night: He missed a 45-yarder on the final play of the first half, also with Stanford (3-0) leading by six.
So far this season, Salazar - a junior college transfer who beat out incumbent Alex Zendejas in training camp - is 1-for-4 on field goals. He has also missed an extra point.
In fairness, there was plenty of blame to go around Saturday.
Arizona's defense played tough against Stanford's physical front, but was left vulnerable to the deep play. Twice, quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Levine Toilolo made them play. With the Cardinal facing a third-and-1 and holding a 16-10 lead in the third quarter, Luck called a play-action pass. Toilolo, running alone down the sideline, caught the high-arcing pass with ease and cruised 39 yards to the Wildcats' 33. Luck ran for 15 yards on the next play, and - after a few short gains - hit tight end Zach Ertz for a 16-yard touchdown pass, making it 23-10.
Luck and Toilolo teamed up again on the first play of the fourth quarter, essentially ending the game. Stanford packed the line on another third-and-short play, Luck rolled out and found Toilolo for a 34-yard score.
Add in a few other mistakes - like Arizona's Hank Hobson lining up in the neutral zone on a Stanford punt, giving the Cardinal a first down - and the Wildcats were doomed.
The UA (1-2) will host another top-10 team, Oregon, next weekend before playing USC and Oregon State on the road.