14-5 per ESPN, 14-4 per FOX, and Romney's still ahead in Ohio per Fox News. (I kid, I kid…) Whichever source you believe, Stanford's dominating in first downs at the half. They'll be without Daniel Zychlinski the rest of the way though, per the Stanford trainers via the sideline reporter. UCLA starts with the ball this half and Trent Murphy immediately draws a holding call to give UCLA 65 penalty yards to Stanford's 0. The Bruins do manage to pick up a first down, but on third down, an open Shaq Evans can't hang on, and Stanford's three minutes closer to a Pac-12 North title.
The next snap, it's again Taylor on power right with David Yankey pulling and blocking a lineman and then getting to the second level and getting a linebacker to spring Taylor. Taylor shows speed in the open field, and then muscle as he initiates contact with the last defender and drives to the UCLA two. Then it's more Taylor on first, second and third and goal, proving the adage that if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. As is always the case in fairy tales, third time's a charm, Taylor is in from one yard out, and it's 28-10 Cardinal.
When it rains it pours, because the very next kick, UCLA fumbles and Usua Amanan displays great balance to scoop and score, keeping his feet underneath him as he beats the Bruins across the field left to right and into the end zone. 35-10 with a quarter and a half to go after Alex Debniak forced return man Kenneth Walker's fumble.
I see several advantages in the way this game is playing out as we look ahead to next week. First, Stanford should be able to rest its starters in the fourth today. Second, I often think the psychological/momentum angle is overwrought in sports, but if the Card hang a 30-point win on the Bruins today, on their home field, you have to think that will set a tone come Friday. Kevin Hogan getting another start under his belt – against the very same defense he'll need to beat for a Rose Bowl berth – can't hurt either. (Of course, you can say the same for Brett Hundley and the Bruins, albeit to a lesser extent as Hundley has already played a full season with the first string.) Plus, should Stanford end up making the Rose Bowl, that they earned such a decisive win here just games earlier probably won't hurt their confidence either.
After both teams punt, UCLA sees Hundley get loose for a 38-yard gain as the third winds down. Franklin then runs in for an 11-yard score to pull within 35-17.
Play of the quarter: Jordan Richards made a David Tyree-like football-to-helmet catch of a Hundley fastball, setting the stage for Stepfan Taylor's second touchdown of the day. After yet another uninspired showing from Stanford's wideouts, could we move this guy or another DB to the other side of the ball?
Stat of the quarter: 11-of-23, 183 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Brett Hundley has completed fewer than half of his passes in an incredible showing from Stanford's backfield. Take out the 71-yard first-quarter connection with Evans and now we're really talking. (To be fair, UCLA's wideouts have dropped a good five balls.)
Final: Stanford 35, UCLA 17
"We want some more. We want some more." The fourth-quarter broadcast starts with a shot of UCLA's huddle chanting. Maybe they mean they'd like 19 more points, as they currently trail 35-17.
It's a quiet quarter with the energy largely out of the arena, Stepfan Taylor on the bench, presumably resting, and this one seemingly a foregone conclusion. Jordan Zumwalt, a one-time Stanford commit, intercepts Hogan, but is called for defensive holding that negates the pick and gives Stanford a fresh set of downs after third and nine. Anthony Wilkerson then fumbles, but Andrus Peat is "Kahlil on the spot" a week after Wilkes and Hogan conspired to recover a Hogan fumble. Williamson tries to cap the drive, which went 53 yards in 10 plays and, most importantly, lasted 7:07, but hits the crossbar on a 45-yard attempt. His make in two tries last week was huge, but he is just 14-of-24 (58 percent) on the season now.
UCLA converts on a fourth and two and then has Jerry Johnson open on a fourth and 17, but he drops a ball behind him. Stanford can't expect to benefit from so many UCLA drops next week, but that the Bruins are going for it on fourth and 17 in the first place tells you where this one is headed. FOX then teases us all by putting Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Taylor on their Heisman Watch. Hey, in a year in which no one seems to want to win the thing, he could well earn a Stanford player's fourth straight invite to New York, especially with another big game on Friday.
Kyle Murphy is called for a hold that negates a long Reumond Wright gain, and after running yet another few minutes off the clock, the Cardinal punt. FOX shows that Stanford will be champions of California with three straight wins over UCLA, USC and Cal. My brother then muses that maybe it's called the Pac-12 Network in reference to how many households receive the channel in the first place. Funny kid.
Filling Terrence Stephens shoes' ably, David Parry tallies Stanford's sixth sack of the day soon before Kevin Anderson rings up No. 7. As he did to Alex Carter in the first, Joe Fauria renders Usua Amanam's tight coverage irrelevant, pulling down a 24-yarder on third and 11. Unfortunately for UCLA, however, his sticky fingers aren't contagious, as an open Tarius Bell drops a fourth down pass and Kevin Hogan and the Cardinal re-enter to run it out.
Taylor finishes the day with 142 yards and two TDs as FOX confirms that he was not injured, but just resting the last quarter-plus. He'll be within striking distance of the all-time Cardinal rushing record come Friday. Should Stanford win then and again in Pasadena, they'd finish 12-2, which I'd have to think would also be a single-season record for wins. As it is, Stanford kneels it out and improves to 10-2 with a 35-17 beating of UCLA that was not as close as it looked.
Play of the quarter: Stanford would have had to turn it over several times to blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead. True freshman Andrus Peat prevented one such turnover when he recovered an Anthony Wilkerson fumble early in the quarter, and the rest of the contest proved academic.
Stat of the quarter: Hey ESPN.com, why don't you show defensive stats? No matter, we'll happily browse around to discover that Chase Thomas (two), Ben Gardner, Anderson, A.J. Tarpley, Parry and Josh Mauro each have sacks, contributing to a total of seven Stanford sacks on the evening and a veritable party in the backfield.
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