At their best with their backs to the wall, Stanford rebounded impressively from its stumble against Utah to defeat UCLA for the third time in less than a year. Neither team found the end zone for the first two and a half quarters of a game dominated by the defenses until Kodi Whitfield caught the first touchdown of his Stanford career. That leaping grab in double coverage snapped a 3-3 tie and put his team ahead to stay. According to plan, Stanford dominated the time of possession and ultimately won the battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Tyler Gaffney piled up 36 carries with two touchdowns, compensating for a respectable but still erratic passing game from Kevin Hogan. On Stanford’s offensive line, David Parry contained star USC linebacker Anthony Barr, giving Hogan as much time as possible to throw.
Bottled up for most of the game outside a lone touchdown drive, Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley threw two interceptions in the second half, and the Cardinal converted the strong field position after both turnovers into points. Conservative play-calling by Stanford kept the score closer than it might have stayed otherwise, allowing UCLA two possessions in the fourth quarter when they trailed by just a touchdown. But Hundley could not mount the key comeback that would have kept UCLA undefeated and on the inside track to the Rose Bowl. Still controlling its own destiny, Stanford now occupies that inside track as the Pac-12 No. 2 two weeks ahead of its crucial North Division collision with Oregon.