14-play drive, and ESPN is talking at length about how Stanford could run the table into the playoffs. Our next three – the Washingtons and Colorado – are manageable, and then it's Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame, all at home.
UCLA with a personal foul to shoot themselves in the foot, right when they really needed to establish something offensively to keep up with the Cardinal. Instead, Ronnie Harris tips away on third and seven, and the personal foul after first down turns out to be the difference between moving the chains and, instead, a UCLA punt.
Okay, now it's time to bury these guys, and Stanford's going physical. Crack block from a receiver in motion generates a chuckle, a replay, and four yards for Bryce Love. On third and four, left tackle starts early, no call, but Hogan overshoots Austin Hooper. No worries, as punter Alex Robinson gets the friendly roll, and pins the Bruins back on their two.
Kevin Palma with a shoestring tackle of Paul Perkins, and the trainers are looking at Palma's legs as he walks off limping slightly. Yet another UCLA first down comes back for ineligible receiver downfield. If you consider the pass interference that pushed UCLA from first and ten into third and long somewhat responsible for Josh Rosen's pick-six, and now add in a second UCLA punt instead of first downs, and it's the Bruin penalties that have been the story early. Stanford pretty consistently has won the penalty battle in recent years, and it's paying off tonight.
Rushing yards are 64-63 Stanford. Pass yards 125-58 UCLA. Not anymore, as we come back from break, Card at the Bruin 42, and Devon Cajuste is wide open down the left sideline at the Bruin 10. First receiver ran a deep route to clear out the defense, and Cajuste was open underneath with 10 yards around him. McCaffrey takes two direct snaps, scoring on the second, and it'll be the second time this half that the officials are overturned, as they had originally called him short of the goal-line.
Stanford 28, UCLA 10, 8:00 remaining, second quarter
Cardinal offense keeps rolling, as they have pretty much ever since 90 minutes into the season. UCLA starts at the 40 after an out-of-bounds kickoff. They're down a left tackle. Three straight incompletions for the Bruins, and Stanford will start from its 30. Michael Rector catches a nice 30-yard corner route, dragging his tiptoes in bounds, but offsetting penalties reset the down. No matter, as Stanford goes all-run, all the time. We see Barry Sanders for a snap, McCaffrey has 26 yards on four rushes this drive alone, and then McCaffrey goes to paydirt, with a 28-yard run off left tackle.
Stanford 35, UCLA 10, 2:12 remaining, second quarter
UCLA receiver Kenny Walker III ejected for leading with his helmet and spearing Blake Martinez in the sternum in the open field. Martinez walks off to the locker room, accompanied by a trainer, and now Stanford is mighty, mighty thin in its front seven. To the best of my memory, Martinez, Palma, Shittu, Phillips, Scarlett and Anderson all are or have been injured already, and we're not even hallway into the season.
UCLA stringing together a nice two-minute drill here, now down to the Cardinal 17, and make that the Cardinal three after a slant. Make that a UCLA touchdown after the Bruins spread us out and handoff to Paul Perkins, who drives through contact and into the goal-line. Not a stellar half for the D, with the last-minute drive, the coverage bust, and UCLA shooting itself in the foot as much as anything, but a workman-like effort will be more than enough the way the offense is clicking right now. Shorthanded D is doing enough, has a score to its name to boot, and is getting the ball back for Christian McCaffrey (244 all-purpose yards tonight, now No. 1 in the country on the season) and the gang.
Stanford 35, UCLA 17, Halftime
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