Palo Alto, CA—The 24th ranked UCLA Bruins (3-1) traveled to The Farm and gave the Stanford Cardinals (2-2) a reality check in a very competitive 35-24 victory. You saw two different philosophical approaches to football on display. It was the Bruins’ speed versus the traditional power attack of the Cardinals.
In the 1st half, UCLA’s defense was too fast for the Stanford offense. The Bruins committed to stuffing the run and not allowing wide receivers to get open down the field. The Cardinals only amassed 67 rushing yards for the entire evening.
Conversely, the Bruins utilized head coach Chip Kelly’s traditional quick tempo offense to move up and down the field. UCLA scored three rushing touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line after moving the ball across the turf with precision in their turbo offense package.
“It just took guts. Guts to want to finish a game,” defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight said. “Last week versus Fresno we weren’t able to go in and absolutely finish the game the way we’ve been coached. This week during practice that was the main thing. We finished. The Bruins finished.”
The Bruins took a 21-7 lead into halftime.
The second half was about coaching adjustments. The Cardinals head coach David Shaw is the winningest coach in program history and the longest tenured Black head coach in FBS history. You don’t win 90 games in the last 10 years without being able to adjust the game plan.
Shaw took advantage of UCLA’s commitment to stopping the run and dialed up big passing plays over the middle. Quarterback Tanner Mckee threw two bombs over 50-yards to wide receivers Bryce Farrell and Elijah Higgins.
The Cardinals tied the game 21-21 in the 4th quarter. Mckee finished 19-32, 293 yards, and three touchdowns on the evening.
In the 4th, UCLA Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was taken off the field after a crushing blow. With 2:30 seconds left in the game, Thompson-Robinson found a sliding Kyle Phillips in the corner of the endzone for a game-sealing touchdown. Phillips’ speed impacted the game as a punt returner and wideout. Phillips had 5 catches, 120 yards, and two touchdowns. He also averaged 24 yards on three punt returns.
“Obviously don’t feel good about losing our first home game,” defensive end Thomas Booker said. “At the same time, you got to let that fuel your preparation. So feel sick about it, but do something about it. That’s how we are right now.”
UCLA: Host Arizona State on Saturday.
Stanford: Host No. 3 Oregon on Saturday.