STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Luke Powell has been waiting two seasons
to make a phenomenal punt return, and the Stanford football team
has been desperate for weeks to get a monumental victory.
Powell sparked the Cardinal's 21-14 upset over UCLA on Saturday
with a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Chris Lewis passed
for a score and ran for another to send the Bruins to their first
conference loss and the Cardinal to their first Pac-10 win.
This was a huge confidence boost for Stanford, humiliated last
week at Oregon 35-0, and the biggest victory yet in coach Buddy
Teevens' two-year tenure.
"They're all big wins, but this certainly comes at a nice
time," Teevens said. "Our guys, they don't blink, they don't
flinch. There's a resilience and resolve."
Stanford (3-4, 1-4 Pac-10) did it by playing the complete game
it had been desperately looking for -- with strong performances on
offense, defense and special teams. Lewis, a fifth-year senior,
played with poise as a fill-in for injured freshman quarterback
Lewis went 12-of-20 for 91 yards with an interception.
Powell snapped a 7-all tie with his impressive return 2:28
before halftime. Powell was a first-team All-America kick returner
as a sophomore two years ago when he ranked second in the nation in
punt returns, but was hurt most of last season and had been
ineffective so far this year.
"It was a huge momentum swing and they really didn't recover
from it," Powell said. "I made one guy miss and all I saw was the
punter. I was just telling myself, 'Do not get caught by the
punter.' I wouldn't have heard the end of that."
This week, Teevens predicted that a breakthrough win was coming
soon for the Cardinal, saying his players have remained confident
despite the frustrating results. But this didn't seem like the week
Stanford would do it, considering UCLA's latest defensive success.
But the Bruins defense that has been spectacular lately was
upstaged by Stanford's defense and several big plays by the
Cardinal, who had their second-best scoring output of the season
and huddled at midfield after the win.
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell stood outside his team's locker room
after the game with his hands on his hips and a scowl on his face.
"We got a loss in conference, at least that's over with,"
Dorrell said. "Hopefully we can rebound from this. They played a
smart game plan. They took care of the football and put us in
disadvantageous positions. They didn't make many mistakes with the
football and we made more mistakes."
Stanford's effective blitzing scheme kept constant pressure on
quarterback Matt Moore, who sat on the grass on both knees in
frustration for several seconds after one long pass sailed well
beyond his intended receiver. UCLA (6-3, 4-1) went to backup Drew
Olson midway through the fourth quarter.
Olson led a scoring drive capped by Maurice Drew's second
rushing TD of the game, a 2-yard run with 5:28 left, but the
comeback effort fell short.
The Cardinal had eight sacks, three shy of the 11 they had all
season coming into the game.
When Stanford punted late in the third, the ball hit off a UCLA
player's leg and the Cardinal's Marcus McCutcheon -- the son of
former Los Angeles Rams running back Lawrence McCutcheon --
recovered on the UCLA 8, giving Stanford great field position that
led to Lewis' 1-yard scoring run with 1 second left in the quarter.
That was one of several costly plays for UCLA, which would have
maintained first place in the Pac-10 with a win and also likely
earned a top-25 ranking.
Stanford had allowed 51 points in the first quarter in its
previous six games, but the Bruins didn't score until Drew's 9-yard
TD run 57 seconds into the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.
That's when Stanford's vapid offense began to show signs of life
for the first time in two games. Stanford had only 206 yards of
offense but held UCLA to 287 -- 48 rushing.
After failing on seven plays from the 2-yard line last week,
Teevens got creative and went away from his conservative play
calling in the red zone to give his team a better chance.
On third down, Lewis had three players lined up behind him to
form an "I" -- a tight end and two running backs. Lewis then found
Matt Traverso wide open in the end zone for a 2-yard TD reception
that tied the game at 7 with 9:06 left in the second quarter.
Powell's big run was the second-longest punt return for a
touchdown in school history. Thomas Henley returned one 92 yards
against Oregon in 1986.