STANFORD, Calif. -- After watching Stanford blow an early lead a year ago at Wake Forest, Andrew Luck made sure the Cardinal never stopped scoring in the rematch.
Luck threw four touchdown passes, ran 52 yards for another score and led No. 19 Stanford to the end zone on all eight drives that he played in a 68-24 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday night.
"We were very, very, very motivated, especially after last year," Luck said. "We knew we had to maybe light the scoreboard up if we wanted to beat them."
Stanford has won its first three games for the first time since 2001, avenging last year's 24-17 last-second loss at Wake Forest in a game the Cardinal led 17-3 at the half.
The Demon Deacons (2-1) scored 107 points in winning their first two games but didn't have nearly enough offense to keep up with Luck and Stanford. Wake Forest gave up its most points since losing 72-13 to Florida State in 1995.
"That Stanford team is very special," coach Jim Grobe said. "It's a good football team, well-coached. All the credit to those guys. They give you problems offensively. They have such a strong running game and a special quarterback who makes all the throws."
Luck completed his first eight passes of the game and effortlessly moved the Cardinal down the field against a Wake Forest defense that allowed 48 points in a win over Duke last week.
Luck finished 17 of 23 for 207 yards passing to go with the long, weaving run that showed he has the athleticism to go with his strong arm. With 10 touchdown passes after three weeks, Luck showed he deserves to be mentioned prominently in early season talk about the Heisman Trophy.
"He played a flawless game," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The execution was right on the money."
The Cardinal have scored 154 points through three games, showing no signs of missing last year's Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. This is the best offensive start to a season for Stanford since scoring 164 points in the first three games in 1923. This was Stanford's highest scoring game since also getting 68 against San Jose State in 1968.
Wearing black uniforms for the first time, the Cardinal looked sharp from the start after waiting around all day for the latest kickoff in school history.
It didn't take long after the opening kick at 8:25 p.m. PDT for the blowout to start. Wake Forest was stopped three-and-out on the opening possession before Luck drove the Cardinal 61 yards for the opening score. He capped it with an 8-yard pass to Owusu, who had missed the first two games with a knee injury.
After Chris Givens tied the game with a 22-yard run off a reverse, the Cardinal took the lead on the next possession when Luck hit Owusu with a 35-yard scoring strike over A.J. Marshall.
Gaffney added his two short touchdown runs in the second quarter and Luck added a 12-yard swing pass to Usua Amanam for another score.
But it was Luck's long run that was his most memorable play of the day. On a third-and-7 from his own 48, Luck dropped back to pass and quickly saw vast open territory in front of him. Without hesitating he ran up field and eluded two defenders and outraced Alex Frye to the end zone to make it 34-7.
"There were five different points where I was like, 'Should I slide here? Or should I slide here. Or should I slide here,' Luck said. "Guys were working their tails off blocking down field. I started cutting back and fortunately wasn't hit. I got pretty excited and I was in the end zone."
Wake Forest got a 48-yard field goal from Jimmy Newman with 4 seconds left in the half to cut Stanford's lead to 41-10. When the clock ran out during Stepfan Taylor's return of the ensuing kick, it marked the only time in the first half that Stanford touched the ball and did not score.
The Cardinal did not slow down in second half. Taylor scored on a 10-yard run to cap the first possession of the second half. Luck threw a 3-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin after Austin Yancy intercepted a pass from Tanner Price. Luck took the rest of the night off with a 55-10 lead.
"I know they lost their running back, Toby Gerhart, but that's a more veteran team than we saw last year," Grobe said. "That's a veteran offensive line and they are impressive."
Harbaugh lost a challenge of a non-fumble call with 5:25 remaining and the Cardinal leading 68-24.
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