Nov. 24, 2012
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - UCLA coach Jim Mora made it clear his Bruins weren't at their best Saturday in losing to Stanford. Mora and his players are just grateful to get another shot at the Cardinal next Friday.
"Congratulations to Stanford. They played a heck of a game and they're a heck of a football team," Mora said after the 11th-ranked Cardinal beat No. 15 UCLA 35-17 to win the Pacific-12 North title and a rematch with the Bruins in the conference championship game at Stanford. "We have some things that we have to do to get better by Friday night. We will get right back to work."
Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and Kevin Hogan passed for 160 yards and another score for the Cardinal (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12), who had to beat the Bruins to earn a rematch because No. 5 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) beat Oregon State 48-24 earlier Saturday.
The Cardinal, who have three straight 10-win seasons for the first time, handed Oregon a 17-14 overtime setback last weekend to put themselves in position to win the North title with a victory over the South champion Bruins (9-3, 6-3), who earned their berth in the title game by beating Southern California 38-28 last weekend.
But Mora said the Bruins held nothing back.
"If we were holding something back, we wouldn't have had our starters in there at the end," he said. "We are trying to create a culture about winning. The only way to win is you go for it every time you step on the field. If you didn't do that, you cheat everybody.
"We wanted to win this game today. We came up short. They tried their best to win. We did not play as well as we can. There is a lot to learn."
The win was the sixth straight for Stanford and its fourth in a row over UCLA, which had a five-game winning streak snapped - its longest in seven years.
UCLA redshirt freshman Brett Hundley completed 20 of 38 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown with one interception while being sacked seven times, and Johnathan Franklin, the Bruins' leading career rusher, was held to 65 yards on 21 carries. Stanford entered ranked second nationally in sacks and rushing defense.
Franklin began looking to the rematch immediately.
"I'm excited about next week," he said. "They're a good defense, and I love going up against good defenses. You never play a perfect game, but give Stanford credit. Right now we're all about UCLA we have to stay on task."
Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound senior who carried 20 times, didn't play in the fourth quarter, but Stanford coach David Shaw said his star running back was fine. Taylor raised his career rushing total to 4,134 yards and will need 36 yards in the rematch with UCLA to break the Stanford career rushing record of 4,169 yards set by Darrin Nelson in 1977-81.
Hogan, a redshirt freshman making his third start at quarterback for Stanford, completed 15 of 22 passes without being intercepted and was sacked twice. He has guided the Cardinal to wins over three straight ranked opponents, something they had never accomplished before.
UCLA was held to 334 yards of total offense while Stanford gained 381 yards overall.
"We need to play our gaps better," UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr said. "We overran too many plays. They played straight forward. They didn't surprise us with anything new. They are the most consistently physical team we've played this year. Our energy and demeanor was down today. I don't know why, but we need to have more energy."
Leading 21-10, the Cardinal broke the game open by scoring twice in a 13-second span midway through the third quarter. Taylor scored on a 1-yard run four plays after Jordan Richards intercepted Hundley's pass at the UCLA 42, and Alex Debniak forced a fumble by Kenneth Walker on the ensuing kickoff and Usua Amanam returned it 11 yards for another TD.
Franklin's 11-yard TD late in the third quarter cut Stanford's lead to 18 points, and it appeared the Bruins got another shot early in the fourth quarter on Jordan Zumwalt's interception in Cardinal territory, but it was nullified by a defensive holding penalty.
Stanford's Jordan Williamson hit the crossbar on a 45-yard field goal attempt with 9:46 remaining, but the Bruins lost the ball on downs after getting as far as the Stanford 38. UCLA reached the Cardinal 14 before turning the ball over on downs again with 2:30 left.
Perhaps inspired by the knowledge that Oregon had won, Stanford moved 75 yards on 12 plays after receiving the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Hogan to Drew Terrell.
The Bruins needed only two minutes to tie it, getting a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hundley to Joseph Fauria three plays after Hundley hooked up with Shaquelle Evans on a 71-yard pass play. The 6-foot-7 Fauria has 11 TD receptions this season.
UCLA moved to the Cardinal 38 late in the first quarter before Hundley's pooch punt on fourth-and-3 was downed at the Stanford 1. The Bruins forced a punt, but couldn't take advantage of the good field position and had to punt as well.
Stanford then moved 88 yards on 10 plays for a 14-7 lead, scoring on a 10-yard run by Anthony Wilkerson, and the Cardinal scored again less than two minutes later on a 49-yard run by Taylor.
UCLA got a break late in the second quarter when Stanford punter Daniel Zychlinski couldn't handle a low snap from center and was hit before getting the kick off, setting up a career-best 48-yard field goal by freshman Ka'imi Fairbairn with 1:37 left before halftime, making it 21-10. UCLA didn't get a first down in the second period.
The game, played before a crowd of 68,228 at the Rose Bowl, was the first between the schools in which both were ranked among the Top 25 since 2001, when No. 20 Stanford beat No. 24 UCLA 38-28.