Pac-12 Championship: Running score

Stanford 27, UCLA 24 – 6:49 fourth quarter: UCLA got the clutch defensive play it needed, with Randall Goforth breaking up the end zone pass. Stanford settles for a 36-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson. Bruins limited that Cardinal drive to just 25 yards on five plays after a big punt return by Drew Terrell.

UCLA 24, Stanford 24 – 11:21 third quarter: Kevin Hogan ties the game with a 26-yard pass to Drew Terrell. UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price had a clear shot at tipping the pass, but jumped too early. One of Hogan’s better throws tonight caps a 10-play, 58-yard drive that was mostly Stepfan Taylor runs.

The Bruins just can’t shake the Cardinal despite more than a 100-yard edge in total offense. UCLA has committed seven penalties for 64 yards. Stanford has three for 25.

UCLA 24, Stanford 17 – 1:04 third quarter: Johnathan Franklin continues to completely wreck Stanford’s vaunted run defense. This time, a 20-yard scamper gives UCLA’s star tailback his second score of the day, capping the Bruins’ 12-play, 80-yard drive. In what has already been a remarkable season by Franklin, this is the gem.

He already has 173 rushing yards on just 15 carries with over a quarter to go. Few teams have been able to rush for triple digits against Stanford, with Oregon rolling up the most with 198 on 40 carries.

UCLA 17, Stanford 17 – 8:20 third quarter: The Bruins tie the game on a 31-yard field goal from freshman Ka’imi Fairbairn, who has incredibly reliable from short range all season. UCLA’s nine-play, 47-yard drive stalled as Brett Hundley couldn’t find open receivers, including Joe Fauria running out of bounds to make himself ineligible to receive.

Johnathan Franklin continues one of his best games of the season. His 32-yard run on the drive helped give him 149 on the day, more than any other back has against Stanford.

Stanford 17, UCLA 14 – 0:02 second quarter: Jordan Williamson’s 37-yard field goal breaks the game’s streak of five straight punts, giving the Cardinal a slight edge heading into halftime. The 10-play, 62-yard drive was mostly Kevin Hogan on both passes and runs, but tailback Stepfan Taylor set up the field goal with a 9-yard scamper — one that made him Stanford’s all-time leading rusher.

The natural grass field at Stanford Stadium is getting slippery, and it’s started to affect a number of plays. Even officials have lost their footing.

UCLA 14, Stanford 14 – 12:57 second quarter: Brett Hundley makes a costly mistake, forcing a throw to Joe Fauria that just wasn’t there. That gets taken back 80 yards on a eye-popping return by safety Ed Reynolds, who misses out on a pick six after the play is reviewed. Stepfan Taylor punches the ball in on a one-play, one-yard drive.

Bruins absolutely had all the momentum until that interception, having just churned out 59 yards in six plays. That included a 31-yard run by Franklin and a 17-yard pass from Hundley to Fauria.

UCLA 14, Stanford 7 – 3:40 in the first quarter: Brett Hundley abuses the Stanford defense with his legs, finding space on the left side and scrambling five yards to the end zone. Hundley had followed up his team’s 15-yard penalty earlier on the drive with a 48-yard streak to the Stanford 24-yard-line.

Really good showing on the ground today for UCLA. The Bruins already have 132 yards rushing. Franklin has 80 on the day, and is the new single-season record holder for rushing yards.

UCLA 7, Stanford 7 — 6:07 first quarter: Kevin Hogan absolutely embarrassed the Bruins defense on a fake handoff, turning around to walk two yards into the end zone. No one was within even 10 yards of the Stanford quarterback on that naked bootleg. Great playcall by David Shaw there.

The Cardinal came up big twice on that 11-play, 69-yard drive. Kevin Hogan rushed 13 yards to convert a third down around midfield, and Stepfan Taylor turned a little toss into a 32-yard gain. That gave Stanford first-and-goal on the 2-yard-line.

UCLA 7, Stanford 0 – 11:35 first quarter: The Bruins get on the board early with 51-yard run up the middle by Johnathan Franklin. The tailback has now broken Maurice Jones-Drew’s record in career all-purpose yards (4,688).

UCLA lucked out a bit earlier on this drive when Trent Murphy nailed Brett Hundley from the weakside to force a fumble, but the play was called back had been blown dead due to referee confusion as to whether it should have been first or second down for the Bruins. That drive went 85 yards for 8 plays for the Bruins, including four first downs.

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UCLA defense vs. Stanford offense

The Bruins’ defense has been a work in progress all season, a project that’s trended upward. UCLA has been fairly stout against the run (fourth in Pac-12), but the secondary has been a point of concern all season long. Last week was somewhat of a redemption outing for the pass defense, although the game-opening interception was gift-wrapped by Matt Barkley.

Most encouraging is that USC receivers — thought to be a nightmare matchup for the Bruins — didn’t end up with particularly eye-popping numbers. Marqise Lee grabbed nine catches for 158 yards and a score, but next-best was Robert Woods with five for 68. Stanford doesn’t have the type of gamebreakers that particularly trouble UCLA cornerbacks, but it counters with 6-foot-6 tight end Zach Ertz — who has almost twice as many catches (58) as anyone else on his team.

Stepfan Taylor is a very effective runner, but also isn’t known as a big-play back. The Cardinal’s leading rusher only averages just 4.74 yards per carry, good for 19th among all Pac-12 players. Five times this season, UCLA has surrendered over 150 yards on the ground. Four of those times, the opposing team had two backs who averaged over 5.00 per carry.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan, surprisingly, has already become his team’s second-leading rusher with a paltry 185 yards — 134 on 26 carries in his past three games. This speaks both to the Cardinal’s reliance on Taylor as well as its offensive line. Hogan hardly has the athleticism of Brett Hundley, who has run 34 times for 15 yards in his past three games. Hundley, though, has lost 80 yards on 10 sacks. Hogan has taken just five for a loss of 23 yards. It’s up to UCLA’s front seven to make those numbers tick up.

On an additional note, Jim Mora isn’t overly concerned with penalties. The Bruins rank dead last in the country in penalties and penalty yards per game, and some of the more prominent flags have come on pass interference calls.

“This is a 20-year study I did on penalties: The correlation between penalties and winning games is nonexistent,” Mora said Thursday. “And that is a fact. Over the last 20 years in football. Penalties, in general, don’t matter.

A cursory glance at national penalties statistics indicates a weak correlation: the 20 worst offenders include teams such as No. 5 Oregon, No. 8 LSU, No. 16 Oregon State and No. 25 Utah State; the five most well-behaved teams are Air Force, Kansas, Navy, No. 7 Kansas State and Army.

EDGE: Even

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