November 7, 2010 in Sports

Pac 10: Cardinal rough up Wildcats in battle for 2nd place

Associated Press photo

Stanford RB Anthony Wilkerson evades a tackle on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

Stanford put together a complete performance that finally put last year’s collapse at Arizona to rest.

Andrew Luck threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns and the Stanford defense avenged last season’s loss by helping the 10th-ranked Cardinal to a 42-17 victory in their highly anticipated showdown with No. 13 Arizona on Saturday night in Stanford, Calif.

“Every day, every moment, that’s all you remember,” defensive back Michael Thomas said of last season’s 43-38 defeat.

“Even at halftime, guys were like, ‘Remember what happened last year. Go out there make sure nobody is smiling, nobody is thinking we won the game. We haven’t done anything yet.’ Last year, that sat in us, that burned in us for all offseason, all this week and throughout the whole day.”

Stanford built a 21-3 halftime lead and never let up. Stepfan Taylor scored two of his four touchdowns in the second half to help the Cardinal beat Arizona in the first meeting when both teams were ranked.

The Cardinal are enjoying their best season in 40 years and are alone in second place in the Pac-10, keeping alive their hopes for a Rose Bowl bid if they can win their final three games. Stanford would also need No. 1 Oregon to lose twice to win the conference or hope the Rose Bowl is not obligated to take a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference.

The players say they’re not concerned about bowl bids and BCS rankings, focusing only on the task at hand each week.

“I know there’s many different situations about bowl games and what not,” Luck said. “That all doesn’t really matter unless we win. So we’re taking it like that.”

Luck masterfully executed the offense, which put up six touchdowns and 516 yards against the stingiest defense in the Pac-10.

UCLA 17, Oregon State 14: Kai Forbath, making the most of a second opportunity and a favorable instant replay call, kicked a 51-yard field goal on the game’s final play, giving the Bruins a win in Pasadena, Calif.

Forbath, 10 of 13 on field-goal attempts from 50-plus yards, was wide left on a 46-yarder with 1:17 left. But after an Oregon State punt, the Bruins moved from their 17-yard line to the Oregon State 34 before Forbath’s winner.

Richard Brehaut’s 12-yard pass to Randall Carroll put UCLA in position for the kick. That play began with 4 seconds left, and the officials originally ruled that Carroll didn’t get out of bounds before time expired. But the Bruins challenged the call and won, getting 1 second to play.

USC 34, Arizona State 33: Torin Harris returned a blocked extra point to score two points for USC with 6:59 left, and Joe Houston made a 29-yard field goal with 3:06 left and the Trojans rallied past the Sun Devils in Los Angeles.

Matt Barkley passed for 215 yards and three TDs for the Trojans, who gave up 19 straight points in the second half before rallying for the go-ahead score by Houston, who missed two earlier field-goal attempts.

ASU trailed 29-14 late in the third quarter before LeQuan Lewis’ 100-yard kickoff return score, Omar Bolden’s 66-yard interception return TD and Jamal Miles’ go-ahead TD catch with 6:59 to play. But Tyron Smith blocked the extra point and Harries returned it all the way for two points that turned out to be crucial.

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