Commentary

Bud Foster vs. Andrew Luck

How can VT's D slow down Stanford's QB? Look at field position more than anything

Originally Published: January 3, 2011
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesHow to stop Andrew Luck and his 28 TDs versus seven INTs? Force him to work with a longer field.

Stanford's Andrew Luck has performed better than most other college quarterbacks in the nation this season; he ranks fifth nationally in completion percentage and sixth in quarterback rating, and his 28 touchdown passes against only seven interceptions have led the Cardinal to their first at-large BCS bowl berth. His performance has propelled him to the top of many 2011 NFL draft projections, and some experts have compared him favorably to stars ranging from Stanford alumnus and former Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway to current Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan.

We can hold off on crowning Luck as an NFL success until another day, but he clearly enters the Orange Bowl as the best weapon Virginia Tech must account for defensively Monday night. By our opponent-adjusted metrics at Football Outsiders, Stanford ranks No. 3 in overall F/+ offense. The Cardinal have the No. 2-rated passing offense according to our S&P+ play-by-play ratings; these stats adjust for situational expectations and opponent strength. It won't be the first time this season that the Hokies have faced such a potent overall and passing attack, however. And Luck isn't the first star quarterback whom defensive coordinator Bud Foster has had to plan against.

Still, Virginia Tech fans know Matt Ryan's college career highlights all too well.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com