Oct 27, 2001
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, Calif. - Chris Lewis just doesn't understand goosebumps. After a thrilling win over UCLA, his Stanford teammates know all about them.
In his fourth career start, Lewis threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns as No. 20 Stanford held on for a 38-28 victory over No. 4 UCLA on Saturday, ending the Bruins' unbeaten season and thoroughly muddling the Pac-10 race.
The backup quarterback sparked the Cardinal (5-1, 4-1) to 31 straight points against a team that hadn't allowed more than 17 in any game this season. He threw three interceptions, but got his teammates to believe they could drive and score against the mighty Bruins' defense.
Afterward, Lewis was his usual smiling self. His poise under pressure didn't seem remarkable to him - but his teammates were singing his praises after Stanford got off to its best start since 1992.
The Cardinal's defense also came up big with a late defensive stop, but Lewis' teammates gave much of the credit to Lewis, who stepped in for injured starter Randy Fasani last week in Stanford's 49-42 upset win at Oregon.
"The guys in this room have a lot of confidence in him, and sometimes that's the only difference between great teams and good teams," said two-sport star Teyo Johnson, who caught a 3-yard TD pass from Lewis.
"We know that Chris has got the superstar stuff, and we respond to that."
Lewis rallied Stanford to two last-second victories last season, but lost his first three career starts.
By the time UCLA's defense got off its heels, the Bruins (6-1, 3-1) were down 31-7 - and Stanford had enough points for an impressive upset. Lewis completed 13 straight passes in the first half as Stanford beat a top-five team for the second straight week.
"I don't know why or how, but I really don't get nervous," said Lewis, who was 20-of-29. "Whenever we make mistakes, I feel we get tighter as a group. We feel that we're as good as anybody in the country. If we play well, we can put up points with the best of them."
|AUDIO: Bob Toledo says UCLA's comeback just was not enough against a good Stanford team. 14k | 28k | 56k|
|VIDEO: Ryan Nece picks up the loose ball and runs it back 44 yards for the touchdown.|
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|VIDEO: Scott McEwan finds an open Mike Seidman for a 23-yard score.|
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|VIDEO: Scott McEwan lofts the ball to Bryan Fletcher who makes the over-the-shoulder TD catch.|
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Kerry Carter scored his second TD on a 27-yard run with 2 minutes left as Stanford fought off an excellent second-half charge by the Bruins.
"Not only Chris, but our entire offensive team came out and got us off to a great start, and our defense followed," said Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham, who's off to his best start in seven seasons.
UCLA, its vaunted defense in tatters, fell despite an impressive day from backup quarterback Scott McEwan, who replaced injured starter Cory Paus after halftime and rallied the Bruins to 21 straight points while passing for 221 yards.
"We tried to treat the second half as a test of character, but we didn't dig deep enough," McEwan said. "We did come back, but we just ran out of time. If we had another two minutes, maybe things would have changed."
Carter - who rushed for 102 yards - Luke Powell and Teyo Johnson all caught TD passes, while Brian Allen rushed for 87 yards and a TD.
Stanford Stadium was uncharacteristically packed with 64,495 enthusiastic fans for the biggest college football game in the San Francisco Bay area in several years.
The Cardinal gave the crowd plenty to cheer, putting on a thrilling show even before the late-game theatrics that practically have become standard at Stanford.
With Stanford up 31-21, Powell fumbled at UCLA's 20 with 6:49 left. The Bruins made an 80-yard scoring drive in two minutes, culminating in Bryan Fletcher's 29-yard over-the-shoulder TD catch.
UCLA cornerback Matt Ware then intercepted a long pass by Lewis at the Bruins 39 - but for the first time in the second half, UCLA couldn't move the ball, turning it over on downs with 2:45 left. On Stanford's ensuing drive, Carter broke through the line for the clinching score.
DeShaun Foster, UCLA's Heisman-hopeful tailback, had just 26 yards rushing in the first half, finishing with 77 yards and a score in 21 carries.
"They have a good defense, but it wasn't the beset we've faced this year," Foster said. "We can still win the Pac-10 championship. There are a lot of teams with one loss, so hopefully we can just keep rolling."
The first-half numbers were amazing: Stanford held the ball for more than 20 minutes and gained 353 yards, running 49 plays to UCLA's 25. Johnson could tell that Stanford was rolling when he went to the line of scrimmage and was greeted by silence.
"I could tell because the (defensive backs) were quiet," Johnson said. "When that happens, you know their defensive coaches are yelling at them.
Paus threw his first interception in 198 passes when he underthrew a receiver at the goal line and was picked off by Ryan Fernandez midway through the second quarter.
Paus was extremely erratic, often missing open receivers and completing just 5 of 16 passes. The team said Paus injured his throwing hand at some point during the first half.