Stanford Edges Arizona, 24-23
Oct. 11, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -Toby Gerhart dove across the goal line for a 1-yard score with 25 seconds left, capping an improbable last-minute drive led by third-string quarterback Alex Loukas in Stanford's 24-23 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
Aaron Zagory's extra point was the decisive margin for the Cardinal (4-3, 3-1 Pac-10), who got their third victory in four games. The comeback was led by Loukas, a junior who was 1-for-7 with an interception this season in the only action of his Stanford career before he replaced ineffective backup Jason Forcier in the fourth quarter.
Loukas threw just one pass on his 12 snaps, but was effective running the ball. He gained 32 yards on four rushes during Stanford's 65-yard winning drive, which began with 5:42 to play after Jason Bondzio's second field goal of the fourth quarter for Arizona (4-2, 2-1).
After throwing a 21-yard pass to Ryan Whalen and running for 16 yards, Loukas gained 8 yards up the middle for a key first down at the Arizona 1 with about 90 seconds left. Gerhart, who rushed for 116 yards, scored two plays later.
Terrell Turner set career highs with 10 catches for 175 yards for Arizona, which made two strong fourth-quarter drives that stalled inside the Stanford 5. Willie Tuitama went 22-of-34 for 259 yards, but couldn't get the Wildcats into the end zone late - and Loukas somehow capitalized.
Anthony Kimble rushed for 110 yards for Stanford, with his 70-yard sprint in the third quarter setting up a tying 1-yard TD plunge.
Stanford starter Tavita Pritchard went 13-for-17 for 113 yards before getting injured on a hard tackle late in the first half. Forcier fumbled twice and threw an interception in the second half before Loukas replaced him in the middle of a fourth-quarter drive.
Nate Ness returned an interception 75 yards for a score late in the second quarter for Arizona. Mike Thomas, the Pac-10's leading receiver, had just four catches for 31 yards.
Turner's 38-yard catch between two Stanford defenders set up Bondzio's go-ahead field goal from 22 yards with 11:55 to play. Bondzio added another from 23 yards when Arizona's next long drive stalled.
When Stanford took over at its 35 with 5:42 left, Loukas confidently drove his teammates downfield.
Arizona took a 17-10 lead into halftime on Nic Grigsby's 25-yard scoring run and Ness' interception return down the Wildcats' sideline in a span of just over three minutes in the second quarter. Stanford got its only TD on an 88-yard drive in the first period, ending in Doug Baldwin's short catch.
Stanford replaced Pritchard to start the second half with Forcier, a junior transfer from Michigan who appeared briefly in two games earlier this season. Though Forcier made several miscues, Kimble broke a 70-yard run to the Arizona 2 on the next drive before pounding in the tying score.