The Stanford Cardinal outlasted the UCLA Bruins on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, setting up a rematch between the two teams for much higher stakes on Friday.
In a must-win situation, the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal ran wild on their Pac-12 conference opponent, the No. 17 UCLA Bruins, beating the Bruins 35-17 and setting up a rematch on Friday at Palo Alto. This time, though, it will be to decide the Pac-12 conference championship.
The game started out with both teams trading passing touchdowns from their respective freshman quarterbacks, but the scoring exchanges ended there for the Bruins. The Cardinal then scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, entering halftime with a 35-10 lead.
Star running back Stepfan Taylor proved to be the difference maker on Saturday as the senior ran for more than 140 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns, including rattling one off for 49 yards.
Following Taylor's second score, the Cardinal scored immediately after, forcing a fumble on the kickoff and returning it for a touchdown.
While Taylor took over the game, Bruins star running back Johnathan Franklin was unable to do the same, as the senior rushed for just 65 yards on the day.
Box Score Hero: Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards in 20 carries and two touchdowns while picking up an additional 27 yards in the passing game. To make it even more impressive, the star running back did that without playing in the last 1.5 quarters.
Rankings Ramifications: Stanford's impressive win on the road against a quality conference opponent will help the team move up in the BCS rankings, but they will likely need a team ahead of them to slip first. UCLA should remain as a ranked team.
But Did They Cover? Stanford opened as 1-point road favorites and closed as 3-point favorites. Regardless, the Cardinal covered and did so quite easily.
For More On This Game: For more on Bruins football, visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on Cardinal football, visit Stanford blog Rule Of Tree, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Bay Area.
Next Week's Schedule: The two teams will meet again to decide the Pac-12 conference title on Friday at Palo Alto.