Stanford struggled mightily tonight against UCLA. The offense could never really get it going until the very end. The injuries were piling up and penalties were a real problem. The game showed that they have a lot to improve on.
The first half for Stanford was rough. Stanford opened the night by driving down the field with Christian McCaffrey leading the way. But two consecutive penalties deep in UCLA territory forced Stanford to settle for a field goal. Penalties were not the only problem. Stanford gave up two turnovers resulting in 10 UCLA points. The refs completely missed the helmet to helmet collision which led Francis Owusu to fumble the football. The fact that they reviewed the play and still did not call targeting was flat-out disgusting. Owusu was injured and taken to the locker room after the play. Stanford also completely wasted a chance to get more points on the board with two minutes left in the half and three timeouts. Defensively, Stanford could not really get a lot of pass rush going, giving Josh Rosen a lot of time to throw the ball. To make matters worse, Stanford’s two starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder both went down with injuries. However, the defense was able to mostly hold its own. Stanford finished the half down 10-3.
In the second half, Stanford had a real problem getting the ball into the end zone. Twice, Burns led a nice drive down into UCLA territory, but had to settle for field goals. Kicker Conrad Ukropina came up clutch, kicking two field goals, one with the laces out. The secondary struggled with Holder and Meeks out. But Stanford always found a way to get the defense off the field, only allowing three second-half points. The offense finally found its groove when it mattered most. Burns led the offense 70 yards down the field in under two minutes. JJ Arcega-Whiteside caught the impressive game winning touchdown. Stanford beat UCLA 22-13.
Overall, the game was not pretty. Stanford has a lot they need to work on as well as get healthy, and they need to do it fast. Stanford will face ninth-ranked Washington on Friday. But at the end of the day, a win is a win. Go Cardinal!