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Stanford Survives Upset Bid at Arizona State

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Aaaaaand breathe. Stanford took Arizona State's best shot, a spirited defensive effort led by linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and escaped the desert with a 17-13 win, its first in Tempe since 1999. The Cardinal struggled to run the ball, finishing with 128 yards on 42 carries, and the Sun Devils put more pressure on Andrew Luck than any other opponent has managed against Stanford's normally dominant offensive line this season. Still, Stanford managed to match its best start since 1951 and keep its BCS bowl hopes alive.

Luck, who was 33-for-41 for 292 yards, threw an interception and committed a costly fumble, but orchestrated a 10 play, 85 yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to erase a 13-10 deficit. Owen Marecic capped the drive with his second 1-yard touchdown run of the game.

Stanford's defense was stout, limiting the Sun Devils to 268 total yards and forcing a Steven Threet fumble at the goal line in the first half. Arizona State was 1-for-9 on third down and committed eight penalties for 67 yards, including three on the Cardinal's game-winning drive.

Running back Stepfan Taylor, whose streak of 100 yard games ended last week against Arizona, was held to 39 yards on 16 carries. Freshman Anthony Wilkerson provided a spark in the second half and finished with 65 yards on 10 carries. Wilkerson could have had four more yards and a touchdown, but stopped short of the end zone after breaking a big run on 2nd and 6 with less than 2 minutes to play and Arizona State out of timeouts in order to let Stanford run out the clock. It was apparently what head coach Jim Harbaugh had instructed him to do. I wasn't wild about the call, but I can understand the rationale. Who am I to argue with 9-1?