PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Burns with 24 seconds to play, and No. 7 Stanford rallied on its final drive for its ninth consecutive victory over UCLA, 22-13 on Saturday night.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for 138 yards for the Cardinal (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12), who haven’t lost to their downstate rivals since 2008.
After struggling on offense for 3 1/2 quarters at the Rose Bowl, Stanford put together a 70-yard winning drive capped by Burns’ fade to Arcega-Whiteside, who got one foot inbounds on an acrobatic play. Solomon Thomas then returned Josh Rosen’s fumble 42 yards for a touchdown on the game’s final play.
Rosen passed for 248 yards for the Bruins (2-2, 0-1). UCLA’s defense faltered late after severely limiting the Cardinal and McCaffrey, who had his 14th consecutive 100-yard rushing game, for most of the night at the Rose Bowl.
After trailing for most of the night, the defending Pac-12 champions narrowly celebrated yet another victory on the same turf where they won the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. Even with the cheap final touchdown, Stanford had its lowest-scoring performance since the 2015 season opener.
JJ Molson hit his second field goal with 6:32 to play to put UCLA up 13-9, but Stanford got the ball back at its 30 with 2:05 left and confidently marched down the field.
Rosen got the Bruins to midfield in the final seconds, but couldn’t reach field goal range before fumbling on a sack from behind.
Kenny Young’s 40-yard interception return set up Nate Iese’s TD catch in the first half.
STANFORD: The Cardinal barely escaped with yet another victory, but UCLA’s defense might have provided clues to other teams about how to control McCaffrey and the seemingly unstoppable Stanford offense. This is the type of victory that great programs get, and Stanford proved its tenacity yet again.
UCLA: The Bruins changed their offensive approach and bulked up their defensive line in the offseason, all with the intention of matching Stanford’s brute strength and deceptive sophistication. The positive changes weren’t evident in the Bruins’ first three games, but they showed up in this matchup – just not long enough to hang on for a win
STANFORD: The Pac-12’s highest-ranked team and preseason favorite will stay in the top 10, but it wasn’t impressive. The Cardinal won’t move up, but No. 8 Michigan State’s loss means they aren’t likely to slide much, either.
STANFORD: This trip had trap-game potential due to the Cardinal’s trip to face No. 9 Washington on Friday night in a game that could establish early supremacy in the Pac-12 North.
UCLA: The Bruins stay home for a visit from Arizona after shaking off this heartbreaker.
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