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UCLA Survives Stanford Scare

UCLA's national championship hopes almost went up in smoke Saturday. And against upstart Stanford, of all teams.

"We were lucky," receiver Danny Farmer

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  • said after the second-ranked Bruins scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 28-24 victory over the Cardinal.

    Farmer's 32-yard run on a reverse was the big play of UCLA's 62-yard, seven-play, game-winning drive after an 18-yard punt return by Ryan Roques.

    "It was my first reverse," said Farmer, a junior who caught six passes for 78 yards. "I've been waiting three years to run a reverse."

    Freshman DeShaun Foster's 8-yard run with 8:05 remaining put the Bruins ahead for the first time.

    The Bruins (7-0, 5-0 Pac-10) extended their school-record winning streak to 17 games, longest in the country, but not without an unexpected struggle and a big break in the late going.

    "It took us a while to realize Stanford was better than we gave them credit for being," said Cade McNown, who passed for 254 yards and one touchdown. "The last couple weeks we have escaped, not dominated.

    "We got by, but it's certainly a wakeup call."

    Stanford (1-7, 0-5) just missed taking the lead with 4:19 left. With the ball at the UCLA 27, Todd Husak, who was 25-of-45 for 419 yards and one touchdown, connected with Jeff Allen over the middle.

    Allen caught the ball in full stride at abot the 10, was hit near the goal line by Marques Anderson, and fumbled. UCLA's Larry Atkins recovered at the back of the end zone for a touchback.

    "I knew I knocked the ball from his hands at the goal line," Anderson said. "It was my intention."

    Anderson has been bothered by a turf toe recently, prompting UCLA coach Bob Toledo to say, "What he did was remarkable. I didn't think he'd be able to play."

    Stanford had one final chance,

    Ryan Nece prevents Brian Allen from recovering a fumble, and the Bruins held on against the Cardinal. (AP)
    getting to the UCLA 35 with 13 seconds left, but Travor Turner sacked Husak for a 10-yard loss on the final play -- Turner's first sack of the season.

    "This was not a moral victory," Husak said. "It is about time we started winning games. We outplayed them, they just outscored us.

    "We had UCLA by the throat, we should have won. We had the No. 2 team in the country just where we wanted them and let them get away."

    Stanford, loser of 12 of its last 14 games, led 24-14 entering the final period.

    UCLA drew within three points on a 2-yard run by Brown with 13:48 remaining -- his second touchdown of the game.

    Foster scored the game-winner nearly six minutes later.

    Foster, who suffered a knee injury Oct. 17 that was supposed to keep him out of action at least three weeks, rushed for 51 yards on nine carries, all in the second half.

    Foster probably wouldn't have been called upon had Jermaine Lewis, UCLA's leading rusher and scorer, not suffered a bruised right calf after carrying twice for six yards early in the game.

    "It was an emergency, Keith (Brown) was tired and we had to go with him," Toledo said of Foster, who had been cleared to play before the game.

    "I don't think we played very well. This is the worst we've played all year," Toledo said. "We were well-prepared. You have to give credit to Stanford.

    "To play as bad as we did and still win says something. They made us play bad at times."

    Brown gained 94 yards on 15 carries, and McNown completed 19-of-31 with two interceptions.

    It was nearly an upset of monumental proportions. UCLA was ranked No. 1 in the first Bowl Championship Series poll, released last Monday, and was a 28½-point favorite in its homecoming game.

    "We fell short," Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We are not interested in losses, only wins count. They might have had their eyes set on someone else in the future and we just snuck up on them."

    Stanford took a 17-14 lead on Kevin Miller's 36-yard field goal early in the third quarter.

    UCLA's Chris Sailer attempted a 50-yard feld goal almost four minutes later, but it was blocked by Dave Davis, and the Cardinal extended its lead to 10 points five plays later on a 3-yard pass from backup quarterback Randy Fasani to Russell Stewart -- Fasani's only pass of the game.

    Stanford took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Juan-Carlos Lacey the first time it had the ball.

    The Bruins tied it on a 33-yard run by Brown late in the first period, one play after Tod McBride blocked Kevin Miller's punt. It was McBride's second blocked punt of the year and UCLA's fourth.

    Stanford went ahead 14-7 four minutes before halftime on a 49-yard pass from Husak to Davis, but the Bruins needed just 1:14 to tie the game again on a 53-yard pass from McNown to Brian Poli-Dixon.

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