Friday, November 30, 2012
Grades: Stanford 27, UCLA 24
By Peter Yoon
The rematch was much closer, but the result was the same.
Six days after their regular-season finale, the Stanford Cardinal clinched the Pac-12 title and a spot in the Rose Bowl with a gut-wrenching, 27-24, victory over the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night at Stanford Stadium.
UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt with 34 seconds remaining, and Stanford, which defeated UCLA 35-17 last Saturday, took home the trophy.
Here’s how the Bruins graded out:
Downfield passing clearly wasn't part of the game plan. Brett Hundley had a season-low 179 yards passing and for the first time this season did not have a touchdown pass. He completed 26-of-34 passes, but his second-quarter interception changed the game.
Johnathan Franklin shredded the nation's No. 1 rushing defense for 201 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA's 282 yards rushing were 85 more than any team had gained against Stanford this season. The Cardinal was giving up only 71.3 yards per game this season. UCLA averaged 7.8 yards per carry against a Stanford defense that was allowing only 2.36.
The Bruins limited Kevin Hogan to 170 yards passing, but they also gave up some big pass plays at crucial times. The most notable was when Drew Terrell got behind the UCLA defense for a 26-yard touchdown pass that tied the score at 24-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Stanford gained 170 yards on the ground, but the Cardinal was unable to break the big runs that had hurt UCLA on Saturday. Stepfan Taylor, who had 142 yards a week ago, had only 76 on Friday. Hogan, Stanford's QB, made a couple of key runs, including a 2-yard touchdown and a critical 13-yard run on third down late.
Fairbairn made a 31-yard field goal, but he missed a 52-yarder in the final minute that could have sent the game to overtime. Punter Jeff Locke averaged 44.8 yards but put only one inside the 20. Stanford's kick returners had a big game, averaging 27.6 yard on returns and Terrell also had an 18-yard punt return.
The UCLA games plans on both sides of the ball displayed the adjustments necessary to avoid the blowout loss from last week. The Bruins were able to run the ball effectively against the top-rated rushing defense and also found a way to limit a strong Stanford running game. Penalties were down (eight for 68 yards), but they cropped up at inopportune times.