The Cardinal football team has won 12 in a row -- the longest streak in major-college football.
On Saturday in Palo Alto, Stanford made it three in a row over UCLA, methodically -- and occasionally spectacularly -- overpowering the Bruins in a Pacific 12 Conference game.
Let us count a few of the ways:
Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck showed why he is a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, completing 23 of 27 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
Just for fun, he added a spectacular reception, making a one-handed, over-the-shoulder grab of a pass from Drew Terrell and managing to get one foot down before sprawling out of bounds.
"He's an unbelievable athlete," Stanford Coach David Shaw said of Luck in a television interview after the game. "The guy can do anything, probably play any position, but we like him at quarterback."
Yeah, good choice, coach.
Sixth-ranked Stanford (4-0, 2-0 in the Pac-12) outgained UCLA, 442 yards to 343, and seemed never to run out of options.
The running game used nine ballcarries, with Stepfan Taylor leading the way with 112 yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries.
And Luck connected with 10 different receivers, with Coby Fleener (four catches, 78 yards, two touchdowns) and Chris Owusu (six catches, 48 yards, one touchdown) leading the way.
UCLA, which fell to 2-3 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-12, received solid play from quarterback Richard Brehaut, who completed 18 of 33 for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnathan Franklin, who had 96 yards rushing in 12 carries.
Stanford 45, UCLA 19 (1:51 left in fourth quarter)
Back to methodical for Stanford.
And back into the end zone.
With the outcome in hand, the Cardinal offense just finished a little game of keep away with UCLA, taking 6 minutes 28 seconds to drive 59 yards in 12 plays.
Andrew Luck connected with Chris Owusu for the final five yards and the touchdown.
Stanford 38, UCLA 19 (10:21 left in fourth quarter)
Every time UCLA looks like it might make a game of it, Stanford says, uh, no.
Stepfan Taylor just added his second rushing touchdown of the game, bolting in from a yard out to complete a typically efficient eight-play, 59-yard scoring drive.
Taylor has 112 yards in 17 carries and Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck has completed 19 of 23 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Stanford 31, UCLA 19 (early fourth quarter)
UCLA is showing some life -- and a bad kicking game.
Coming right back after a fumble set up a Stanford touchdown, the Bruins moved 56 yards in nine plays, with Josh Smith scoring on a seven-yard run.
Johnathan Franklin carried three times for 27 yards on the march.
And Jeff Locke missed the point-after, again -- his second miss of the game.
Stanford 31, UCLA 13 (start of fourth quarter)
Just when it looked like UCLA's defense was stiffening, a turnover popped up and mucked things up.
Taylor Embree coughed up a punt at midfield, flinching just as he was about to get hit instead of just calling for a fair catch.
Ty Montgomery recovered for Stanford at the UCLA 40, and after a five-yard penalty it took the Cardinal only four plays to get into the end zone.
Tyler Gaffney scored on a 16-yard run.
Stanford 24, UCLA 13 (10:31 left in third quarter)
UCLA may be onto something.
The something is tight end Joseph Fauria.
The 6-foot-8 Notre Dame transfer just hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game -- while showing great potential as a high jumper.
Fauria took a short out pass from quarterback Richard Brehaut, turned the corner, and hurdled -- yep, right over the top -- Stanford free safety Michael Thomas just inside the 10 yard line and went in untouched.
Fauria has three catches for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Brehaut has completed 12 of 18 passes for 155 yards.
Jeff Locke missed the point-after kick.
Stanford 24, UCLA 7 (14:15 left in third quarter)
You know that crack earlier about every Stanford scoring drive taking forever?
The Cardinal took all of 45 seconds to put up a touchdown after halftime.
Stanford's second play from scrimmage was a 51-yard pass from Andrew Luck to Cody Fleener.
Stanford 17, UCLA 7 (halftime)
UCLA is on the board, thanks to a couple of clutch passes from Richard Brehaut to tight end Joseph Fauria, who at 6 feet 8 inches, can be tough to miss.
Brehaut found Fauria twice on a nine-play, 80-yard drive. The first time was on third-and-15, and the gain went for 18 yards.
The second was for a 12-yard touchdown.
Brehaut has completed nine of 14 passes for 126 yards, but he fumbled to set up a Stanford touchdown.
Stanford's Andrew Luck has completed 10 of 12 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinal also has 107 yards rushing, including 77 in 11 carries by Stepfan Taylor.
UCLA has 44 yards rushing, including 42 in eight carries by Johnathan Franklin.
Stanford 17, UCLA 0 (2:37 left in second quarter)
Does every Stanford scoring drive seem to take forever. The Cardinal beat teams methodically.
Jordan Williamson just tacked on a 23-yard field goal at the end of a nine-play, 60-yard march.
The bright side for UCLA: Stanford had a first-and-goal at the 7 and couldn't punch it in for a touchdown.
Stanford 14, UCLA 0 (9:19 left in second quarter)
UCLA compounded one mistake with another, allowing Stanford to cash in with an eight-play, 28-yard scoring drive.
The first miscue was by Bruins quarterback Richard Brehaut, who lost a fumble when the ball was punched out of his hand by Stanford's Chase Thomas. Making matters worse, UCLA was tagged with a 15-yard personal foul after the play.
Stepfan Taylor scored the touchdown on a two-yard run.
Stanford 7, UCLA 0 (end of first quarter)
Ball control and one-hand catches dominated the opening period in Palo Alto.
Nearly the entire quarter was chewed up in one possession by each team. Both drove the length of the field.
Well, in UCLA's case, it was almost the length of the field. The Bruins' drive stalled at the 1, and Stanford took over from there.
The Cardinal took 16 plays to go 99 yards, the highlights being a pair of leaping one-handed catches.
The first was made by Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who showed he can do more than throw by hauling in a pass from receiver Drew Terrell and managing to get the required one foot down before he went sprawling out of bounds.
The other one-hander was on the touchdown, with tight end Coby Fleener pulling in an 18-yard pass from Luck.
UCLA 0, Stanford 0 (early first quarter)
It looked like UCLA was going to accomplish in the opening minutes tonight what it couldn't do in an entire game against Stanford last season:
On their first possession, the Bruins drove 79 yards in 13 plays, only to stall just short of the goal line.
Johnathan Franklin ran for 16 yards and quarterback Richard Brehaut connected on all four of his passes -- including two on third down -- for 60 yards.
UCLA had the ball first and goal at the Stanford 4, but after Jordan James gained two yards on first down, two runs by Derrick Coleman netted nothing, and Brehaut was stopped a yard short of the goal line on a fourth down run.
UCLA will be without three prominent defensive backs against Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck tonight.
Starting cornerback Sheldon Price, safety Dalton Hilliard and safety Alex Mascarenas did not make the trip to Palo Alto for the game.
Price has a sprained right knee, which he injured near the end of a 27-19 victory over Oregon State last week. Andrew Abbott is expected to start in his place.
Hilliard, who plays in the defense’s nickel packages, suffered a sprained left shoulder against Oregon State. Mascarenas, who also sees time in nickel packages, has a concussion.
Coach Rick Neuheisel had said all three would be “game-time decisions.”
Mascarenas also holds for field goals and extra points. He will be replaced by wide receiver Taylor Embree.
F-back Anthony Barr and kicker Kip Smith also stayed home. Barr is expected to undergo knee surgery to repair cartilage and Smith has a hip flexor injury.
Photo: Cody Fleener makes a one-handed catch for a touchdown. Credit: Jason O. Watson / US Presswire.