The Stanford Cardinal hobbled away with a hard-fought 24-10 win over the UCLA Bruins Saturday. In a game dominated by the defenses and plagued by injuries, the Cardinal got two critical interceptions that keyed the win.
The Cardinal took a 3-0 lead into the locker room after a first half that featured nine punts. After UCLA evened the score with a third-quarter field goal, Stanford put together a seven-play, 76-yard touchdown drive capped by a Kodi Whitfield catch that will be replayed for the rest of the season:
Stanford then picked off UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, converting the short field into another touchdown through a Tyler Gaffney touchdown run. Stanford held a 17-3 lead after three quarters, but UCLA was driving. On the first play of the third quarter, Hundley hit star receiver Shaquelle Evans for a touchdown to narrow the Stanford advantage to seven points.
Stanford drove into UCLA territory and set up for a 46-yard field goal attempt with less than seven minutes to go, but the kick sailed outside the uprights. The teams exchanged punts, giving UCLA the ball at their own 22 with less than three minutes to play. After two incompletions, Hundley threw another interception on third down. Stanford turned to Gaffney, who methodically took the Cardinal into the end zone for the game-sealing touchdown.
Box Score Hero: Stanford's win began and ended with Tyler Gaffney, who carried the ball 36 times for 171 yards, both season highs for the senior halfback. Gaffney scored the game-winning touchdown and racked up 32 yards and another score in a clock-killing drive late in the final quarter.
Rankings Ramifications: Stanford, which had been in the top 5 prior to an upset loss to Utah last week, should return to the top 10 and maintain a viable path to the Pac-12 North championship. UCLA had risen to No. 9 this week on the basis of a 5-0 record, but will drop back into the middle of the poll next week.
But Did They Cover? Stanford entered as a four-point favorite. They covered with ease.
Next Week's Schedule: Stanford travels to Corvallis to take on Oregon State next Saturday. UCLA plays against Oregon in Eugene.