Full Circle: Stanford Reunion at Candlestick
This story originally published on TheBootleg.com
Andrew Luck's Bay Area return
Andrew Luck's Bay Area return
Stanford Football Insider
Posted Sep 22, 2013

Featuring 14 players and coaches who had previously been at Stanford, Sunday's 49ers-Colts game marked what was possibly the biggest Cardinal NFL reunion ever. Not surprisingly, Andrew Luck was the star of the show.

About six years ago, former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh had encountered tumbleweeds on a Texas highway in a cross-state recruiting swing aimed to lure high school quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Landry Jones to The Farm.

On this pristine Sunday afternoon by the waters of San Francisco Bay, that 14-hour trek through the desert was nothing but a distant memory.

The high school kid, now an NFL star, had finished an epic return to the area of his college roots by beating the man with whom he'd created a college football powerhouse just a half hour away.

Luck, now at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts, sealed the deal versus Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers. With Indianapolis leading 13-7 in the fourth quarter, Luck faked the hand-off before sprinting left into the empty end zone. The ferocity of his celebratory spike made the ball soar nearly as high as Candlestick Park's upper deck. The Colts finished off the 49ers 27-7.

"I know [Andrew] is grinning ear-to-ear," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said afterward. "I have never seen him smile the way he smiled after this win. This one meant a lot to him."

Less than 24 hours earlier, Kevin Hogan, Luck's successor at Stanford, had roamed 27 yards untouched to ice the Sun Devils on a play of nearly identical design to the one No. 12 ran into the end zone at Candlestick.

"I realized it was the same play Stanford ran," Luck told me with a smile afterward. "I was watching that last night."

It wasn't just the play that was similar. The Colts' offense, directed by former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, eerily resembled the unit the Cardinal put on the field in 2011. Luck's numbers weren't gaudy: He completed 18-of-27 passes for 164 yards. But his sharp, cold-blooded performance spearheaded a punishing power rushing attack against one of the NFL's best run defenses.

"Very good," Harbaugh, now the prodigy's opponent, conceded afterward. "Very efficient."

Fourteen different players and coaches with history in Stanford's program partook in this 49ers-Colts game, making it possibly the largest Cardinal reunion ever at the NFL level. A Stanford theme dominated the on-field postgame handshake session after, as alumni from both teams embraced at midfield and posed for a group picture. Here's a list of all the Stanford-affiliated participants:

  • Jim Harbaugh: 49ers coach
  • Greg Roman: 49ers offensive coordinator
  • Vic Fangio 49ers defensive coordinator
  • Tim Drevno: 49ers offensive line coach
  • Peter Hansen: 49ers defensive assistant
  • Kevin Tolbert: 49ers strength coach
  • Owen Marecic: 49ers fullback
  • Alex Debniak: 49ers fullback (injured reserve)
  • Michael Thomas: 49ers safety (practice squad)
  • Pep Hamilton: Colts offensive coordinator
  • Andrew Luck: Colts quarterback
  • Coby Fleener: Colts tight end
  • Griff Whalen: Colts receiver
  • Delano Howell: Colts safety

Luck, though, was the media star of the day that featured more Stanford-NFL symmetry than ever before. Here are some photos from The Bootleg's coverage of the Cardinal reunion at Candlestick.

David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!

Related Stories
49ers and Colts Will Be One of Reunions
 -by NinersDigest.com  Sep 22, 2013
Walk-on Warriors Share Stanford Secrets
 -by TheBootleg.com  Jun 20, 2013
Luck excited to work new OC
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Jan 23, 2013

> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from BattleRedNation.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
QB Andrew Luck (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Stanford > Alumni
Football > Stanford > Alumni
Football > Stratford HS > Alumni
[View My HotList]