Stanford Edges Arizona 24-23 In Homecoming Thriller

Oct. 11, 2008

  • Notes

  • Stanford Live: In-Game Blog

    STANFORD, Calif.- Stanford thrust itself into the Pac-10 football race and closer to a possible bowl berth with a dramatic 24-23 victory over Arizona on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.

    Toby Gerhart crashed into the end zone with 25 seconds left and Aaron Zagory added the winning extra-point to complete a Cardinal comeback that boosted its conference record to 3-1 and overall mark to 4-3.

    Stanford's three victories now lead the Pac-10, and its four overall victories draws the Cardinal within three of being automatically eligible of a bowl berth, and within two of a likely one.

    The task facing Stanford seemed daunting after falling behind 23-17 with 5:48 left in the fourth quarter on Jason Bondzio's third field goal of the game, a 23-yarder.

    Stanford had lost starting quarterback Tavita Pritchard to a first-half injury and Jason Forcier had led the Cardinal to three points in four second-half possessions.

    Needing more production and with time growing short, coach Jim Harbaugh replaced Forcier with third-stringer Alex Loukas on a third down play early in the fourth quarter. Though Loukas failed to deliver a first down on that play, he got another opportunity - and made the most of it.

    Given 5 minutes, 41 seconds to work with following Bondzio's field goal, Loukas hit receiver Ryan Whalen down a seam for 20 yards. Moments later, he kept the ball on the option and picked up 16 yards for a first down to the Arizona 25.

    Loukas did it again two plays later, fooling Arizona into falling for a fake pitch to Delano Howell, but keeping for 13 yards.

    For a third time, Loukas kept the ball, this time on third-and-six from the nine. The defense followed a fake to Gerhart, but Loukas headed right then cut left to reach the 1-yard line and earn a first down.

    On second-and-goal from the one and seconds ticking, Gerhart took the handoff from the I-formation and carried over left tackle for the winner.

    Arizona's final plays ended in Erik Lorig's pass deflection, a sack by Lorig and Pannel Egboh, and a lateral-filled last-gasp pass that gained little.

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