Big opening series for the Stanford D right now, and it looks good for the Card early, with UCLA starting at the 19, and still at the 19 come third down. Rosen puts 35 yards on a 30-yard streak on third down, and that may have been UCLA's best shot at victory that just came and went.
Stanford's offense can now put this one away with a score. McCaffrey for two, then Hogan's ball batted away on second down – looked like McCaffrey was open for a screen. Hogan underthrows on third and long, but the trailing UCLA defender's momentum takes him through Michael Rector, so a ticky-tack pass interference call – but one that always gets called. Don't know how a trailing defender is supposed to stop having momentum, or how a defender is supposed to trail if the ball is underthrown.
Francis Owusu then with the offensive highlight of David Shaw era, if not longer. McCaffrey takes a direct snap, pitches to Bryce Love, who tosses back to Kevin Hogan. Hogan underthrows Francis Owusu, who has a good step or two thanks to all the shenanigans and misdirection in the backfield. Owusu somehow hangs on, even though the defender's body is between Owusu and the ball. Owusu is essentially bear hugging the defender with his arms and catching the ball blindly, behind the defender's back, with only his hands. Incredible grip strength and, yes, quite possibly the play of the year in all college football.
Game, set, match.
Stanford 42, UCLA 17, 12:48 remaining, third quarter
Kodi Whitfield with Stanford's second interception, and like Holder's, this was no gimme. Whitfield skied to intercept a good 20 yards down the field, giving the announcers reason to hype Whitfield for his one-handed Odell Beckham Jr.-esque touchdown grab against UCLA a few seasons ago.
Kevin Hogan returns the favor a few plays later, staring into triple coverage and pumping several times before serving one up to the Bruin defense near the Cardinal 30. First Stanford turnover of the game.
Jordan Perez beat on the wheel route, but Soso Jamabo drops a would-be touchdown deep in Cardinal territory. Rosen nearly throws a pick across his body on the resulting third down, incomplete, and UCLA will go for fourth and eight from the Card 10 – why not, down 25? Oh wait, UCLA false start, bring on the field goal unit. Kick's good.
Stanford 42, UCLA 20, 6:35 remaining, third quarter
If I were a UCLA fan, I'd be steaming mad about all the penalties and questioning whether Mora is the right guy to coach the team. Instead, as a Stanford man, I'm checking out the AP poll and thinking that with three top-12 matchups this weekend (Florida/LSU, Michigan/Michigan State, Alabama/Texas A&M), Stanford should be on the fringes of the Top 10. Cardinal trail only Alabama, Ole Miss, Michigan -and Notre Dame among one-loss teams.
I'm interrupted from my daydream to watch Christian McCaffrey take a direct snap, catch a UCLA linebacker, perhaps Miles Jack's replacement, horribly out of position, and cut to his right, behind right tackle, for a 70-yard touchdown in which he goes untouched. He now is over 200 rushing yards with three scores on the night – not to mention very nearly housing that kickoff too.
Stanford 49, UCLA 20, 5:35 remaining, third quarter
UCLA finds itself in fourth and one, and when it rains, it pours. Blake Martinez back out on the field after getting speared in the first half, and he meets and drops Paul Perkins in the backfield at the Bruin 29.
Stanford should get CMac out of the game at this point, and let's see some second-team guys out there. Instead, it's McCaffrey for another five, and he's threatening 223, the single-game school record that Toby Gerhart set but a few years ago. McCaffrey for nine, the UCLA defensive line is plain caving in such that no one is touching McCaffrey for yards downfield, and that's a new school record. We're running for the fourth straight play, everyone in the stadium knows it, and with McCaffrey down to the seven, there's nothing UCLA can do to stop it. McCaffrey into the end zone the next snap, again behind the right side of his line – we went right a lot that drive. CMac is at 243 yards with four touchdowns, and we're still in the third quarter.
Stanford 56, UCLA 20, 1:07 remaining, third quarter
UCLA has a seam, but Duarte stops a throw that hits him in the numbers and likely would have gone for six. The Bruins punt, and it'll be Keller Chryst time for the Cardinal. No, it is Hogan after all, but it'll be Barry Sanders receiving the handoffs. He spins for three.
Stanford 56, UCLA 20, End third quarter
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