The backdrop of this game featured Stanford potentially playing spoiler. If the Cardinal defeated UCLA then the winner of the Arizona State and Arizona game would win the PAC 12 South. After a very short offensive possession for the Cardinal, the Bruins offense took the field and scored a touchdown in 5 plays. UCLA led 7-0 early. Stanford responded with a nice methodical drive starting at their own 25. The drive was capped off by Remound Wright running the ball into the end zone. Stanford drove the ball 75 yards on ten plays and chewed up over 5 minutes of clock. The game was tied at 7 with 6 minutes left to go in the first quarter.
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The Cardinal defense forced a quick 3 and out on the Bruins second offensive possession. Christian McCaffrey returned the ensuing punt deep into Bruins territory but an illegal block in the back negated the nice return. Instead of starting the drive in field goal range Stanford started at their own ten. UCLA penalties were doing more to move the ball on this Stanford possession than anything the Cardinal offense was achieving on their own. Stanford had 5 penalties at this point and the Bruins had 3 penalties. The drive, and the first quarter came to an end because of Stanford penalties and poor offensive execution.
Stanford punted the ball on the first play of the second quarter and UCLA started the drive just inside Stanford territory. Despite the excellent field position the Stanford defense held firm. The Bruins were able to pick up a field goal, however, and took the lead 10-7 with about 12 minutes left to go in the half.
Stanford responded to the Bruins field goal with another long, methodical drive down the field. The play calling was sharp and Hogan was passing the ball very well. When the offense plays mistake free football they move down the field with relative ease. Hogan caps the scoring drive off with a deep touchdown pass to Michael Rector and Stanford took the lead 14-10 with 6:24 left to go in the half to the delight of everyone in the state of Arizona. Hogan was also 10/10 passing with a QB rating of 240.5 at this point in the game. Thus far this is the best Hogan has played all season.
The Stanford defense locked down the Bruins once again and The Cardinal took possession late in the first half deep in their own territory. In the first half the Cardinal looked very much like they are returning to their old ways with a stout, lights out defense and an efficient offense chewing up plenty of clock and winning low scoring affairs.
The Cardinal offense took their time on this possession. Hogan's first incomplete pass resulted from taking another shot deep down field to Rector who could not make the catch on what would have been an easy touchdown. On the play that followed Hogan picked up the first down with his legs converting the 3rd and 10. Hogan took another shot down field but this time a pass interference call gave Stanford a free 15 yards. With less than a minute left to go in the half, just outside of field goal range Hogan looked to certainly take a sack. Hogan stepped up into the pocket and launched a deep pass to the end zone where Devon Cajuste made the catch for the touchdown! Stanford led 21-10 with 41 seconds left in the first half. There is little doubt that if the Stanford offense we saw in the first half had shown up all season that The Cardinal would be in the Playoff discussion right now. At Half Time Stanford leds 21-10. Coach Shaw during the half time interview was fairly excited (By Shaw's standards anyway). Coach Shaw mentioned that everyone on offense is stepping up because Ty Montgomery cannot play today.
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UCLA started the second half trying to go up tempo but it failed miserably and Stanford takes over after the Bruins punt goes for a touchback. Stanford's first possession of the second half is highlighted by some very impressive runs by Remound Wright, Kevin Hogan, and Christian McCaffrey and Stanford was on the move once again. On 3rd and goal from the UCLA 2 yard line Remound Wright once again punched the ball into the end zone for his sixth touchdown in the last 7 days. The Cardinal did not throw a single pass on the 75 yard 7 play touchdown drive. The Cardinal led 28-10 with 9:16 left in the 3rd quarter.
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After both teams exchanged punts after the Remound Wright touchdown UCLA began to put together a decent drive that featured even more penalties from the Stanford defense. UCLA was able to march the ball down to the Stanford 30 yard line with about a minute and a half left in the 3rd quarter. The UCLA kicking unit came onto the field but it was a fake. Backup UCLA quarterback Neuheisel was the holder and threw a pass toward the end zone into double coverage. The pass was intercepted for a touch back and Stanford took over at the 25 still leading 28-10. The Cardinal ran the ball twice as time expired in the third quarter. Stanford led 28-10 headed into the 4th.
Stanford continued the drive down the field, on the ground, and killing clock. On a key 3rd down conversion Hogan was able to connect on a 43 yard pass to Francis Owusu that put the Cardinal comfortably in UCLA territory. After a few more running attempts, and a failed pass attempted into the end zone the Cardinal was forced to try a field goal. The kick was good and the Cardinal extended their lead to 31-10 with less than 11 minutes left to go in the game and Bruins fans headed for the exits.
The Bruin offense came back out moving the ball well, but they needed 3 touchdowns with less than 9 minutes to go and the clock was ticking. UCLA quarterback Hundley was injured on the drive and the backup was unable to convert on a 4th and goal, leaving little doubt about the outcome of the game.
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Stanford killed the clock to finish out the game 31-10 final and even David Shaw cracked a smile. Stanford improves to 7-5 on the season leaving Cardinal fans with mixed feelings. A blowout victory over the 8th best team in the country is nice, but leaves many fans wondering what might have been if this Stanford team showed up all season.