STANFORD, Calif. – Andrew Luck walked back into the overcrowded home locker room at Stanford Stadium, greeted by hugs and handshakes and serenaded with a chant that suited him just perfectly.
“Macho, Macho man!” teammates bellowed, singing the lyrics to the Village People’s famous song. “I want to be a Macho man!”
Only one has earned that title on The Farm.
Luck set the school record for the most career touchdown passes and eclipsed his single-season mark, throwing for 233 yards and four scores to lead fourth-ranked Stanford past No. 22 Notre Dame 28-14 in his home finale Saturday night.
Luck topped John Elway’s record of 77 touchdown passes and helped the Cardinal (11-1) build a 21-0 halftime lead. He has thrown for 80 touchdowns in three years – while it took Elway all four – and 35 this season.
“There’s no player in America like Andrew Luck,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Forget about the stats. Forget about the comparisons of other guys. It doesn’t matter.”
Luck of the Irish? Forget it.
Luck is definitely on Stanford’s side.
The victory likely vaulted the Cardinal into consideration for an at-large BCS bowl bid for the second straight year – with the Fiesta Bowl among the leading possible destinations – but they will not play for a major championship this season.
The lone loss to Oregon put the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game out of the North Division and crushed Stanford’s dreams of a national title.
“I think one loss, that’s great,” said Luck, who turned down a chance to be the NFL draft’s top pick this year. “We’ve been on a 23-2 run for a while, I think it’s pretty impressive. We put ourselves in position to be in a good bowl game, and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Notre Dame’s stumbled at the finish line again.
Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising blow to the ribs for Notre Dame (8-4) before getting benched.
Andrew Hendrix threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a second-half rally for the Fighting Irish that came up short.
Keeping Stanford close gave the Irish little satisfaction.
“We didn’t come here for second prize,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who would not name a starting quarterback for the bowl game. “We got off to a slow start and battled against it. To me, the scoreboard showed 28-14 and that’s not good enough. The slow start put us in a tough position.”
Kelly benched Rees in favor of Hendrix to start the third quarter, and the move pumped some life into a stagnant Irish offense. Notre Dame took advantage of pass interference and roughing the passer penalties for its first score.