Oregon State rallied late, but Stanford's defense stopped the Beavers shy of the endzone on fourth down to preserve a 20-12 win.
After a scoreless first quarter by both teams, the Beavers were able to break through in the second, putting points on the board with a 50-yard field goal by Trevor Romaine. Points were at a premium throughout -- Romaine's field goal would be the only scoring play until a Tyler Gaffney touchdown run with seven seconds left in the half gave Stanford a 7-3 lead at the break.
Two plays into the second half, though, the Cardinal stretched that lead to 13-3 after Oregon State fumbled the kickoff return and Gaffney slammed in for a 9-yard score. A Conrad Ukropina extra point attempt was unsuccessful, as was one by Romaine, after Sean Mannion hit Brandin Cooks to give the Beavers a touchdown of their own.
That would make the score 13-9 heading into the fourth, when Gaffney scored his third touchdown to stretch it to 20-9. Stanford looked like it would cruise from there, and was set to run out the clock with four minutes to go, when Gaffney fumbled. Oregon State capitalized on the turnover for a field goal to close within eight, and when Stanford punted it back with 1:32 to go, the Beavers put a serious scare on the No. 6 team in the country.
Cooks came within one or two blocks of tying the game on a punt return, taking it back to the Stanford 43. Stanford was hit with a pass interference penalty and Cooks came through again to give the Beavers 1st-and-goal at the 7-yardline. Three incomplete passes later, though, Stanford would hold on for the win.
The key for Stanford in this one was bottling up Cooks, one of the nation's leading receivers coming in. He was held to only 80 yards receiving, a season low.
The Cardinal also got consistent pressure on Mannion, sacking him at least five times and limiting his ability to throw downfield. Mannion was held to a season lows in yards per attempt, yardage and passer rating. Still, all that would prove to be enough, despite a horribly ineffective game from Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan, who went 8-of-18 for 88 yards on the night.
Box Score Hero: Gaffney carried the entire team in this one, recording 145 yards and three touchdowns on his 22 carries.
Rankings Ramifications: Stanford likely will not move up, but it will have its chance to next weekend.
But Did They Cover? Stanford was a 4-point favorite at game time, down from 6 earlier in the week. They did cover.
Next Week's Schedule: Stanford has the week off before it faces Oregon on Nov. 7. Oregon State will host USC on Nov. 1, a Friday night game.