Since a season-opening loss, No. 15 Stanford has been a veritable buzzsaw. Thursday night, No. 18 UCLA is getting a taste of said buzzsaw first hand.
To start off, the Cardinal went up 14-3 midway through the first quarter… and then really stepped on the Bruins’ throats in the second quarter, heading into the locker room with a comfortable 35-10 halftime lead. Since the 16-6 Week 1 loss to Northwestern, Stanford has outscored its opponents 204-89 over the last 18 quarters.
As dominant as the Cardinal has been on the scoreboard, though, the Bruins in this game have done their fair share of playing the role of gracious guests — and that graciousness was on full display in the first half of the first quarter.
On their first drive of the game, the Bruins converted a third-and-one from their own 29… only to see it negated by an offensive pass interference penalty. On the very next play, the Ruh-Rosen One, Josh Rosen, threw a pick-six that put Stanford up 7-0.
On the ensuing possession, Paul Perkins scored from 10 yards out… only to see it negated by an illegal formation penalty. Following another penalty, this one for holding, the Bruins were ultimately forced to kick a field goal that closed the gap to 7-3.
Christian McCaffrey (244 all-purpose yards) immediately returned the kickoff 96 yards to set the Cardinal up at the Bruins’ four-yard line. The first play from scrimmage, Kevin Hogan made it 14-3 with 7:03 left in the first on a scoring toss to Austin Hooper. While the Bruins responded on the very next offensive play on a Rosen 70-yard bomb to Darren Andrews to make it 14-10, the Cardinal scored 21 straight second-quarter points — another Hogan touchdown pass, two McCaffrey touchdown runs — to turn the game into a semi-rout through the first 30 minutes.
UCLA averted an all-out rout as Perkins’s three-yard touchdown run with :11 remaining cut the lead to a little more manageable 35-17.
The Bruins finished the half with six penalties for 57 yards and were just 1-6 on third downs; unless that’s reversed, the Cardinal, which has won 22 straight when scoring at least 28 points, will cruise to its fifth straight win and further increase its stranglehold on the Pac-12 North.