Stanford football loses control of Pac-12 title chase


The biggest upset ever has finally been answered. This time, the rookie coach was on the USC sideline and the fourth-down play went the Trojans' way.

Stanford assistant coach Tavita Pritchard has now been on both sides. On Oct. 6, 2007, making his first career start, Pritchard stunned then second-ranked USC, 24-23, in the Coliseum with a fourth-down touchdown pass to Mark Bradford, ruining the Trojans' chances of a national title.

Pritchard had to convert a fourth-and-20 on the same winning touchdown drive.

On Saturday, in a crucial Pac-12 Conference at the Coliseum, Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler and Marquis Lee connected on a fourth-down conversion late in the game that led to Andre Heidari's 47-yard field goal.

USC beat fourth-ranked Stanford, 20-17, ruining the Cardinal's chances of reaching a national title game and putting in jeopardy Stanford's chances of reaching the Pac-12 title game.

"It came down to a blocked field goal and two interceptions," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "You're not going to win, especially on the road, doing that."

The first interception, which ended a long drive, was really set when the Wildcat formation lost four yards on a first-and-goal play.

Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the offensive line had been cramming the ball down the Trojans' throat.

Instead the Cardinal (6-2, 8-2) went for the trick play and lost momentum. Kevin Hogan had to throw the ball. Stanford tried the same play, without success, near the end of the first half.

The second interception came about because of a tipped ball.

Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson missed the end of the game after apparently injuring his knee.

Kicker Jordan Williamson was set to play but then pulled up lame in warmups, so Shaw went with backup Conrad Ukropina.

"We came to play but they got the benefit of the doubt," Gaffney said. "They've been hot the last couple of weeks."

Stanford, now a game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 North Division, hosts California this Saturday in the Big Game, with Notre Dame slated to arrive in two weeks.

After that, well, there's a bowl game in Stanford's future. It just might not be so rosy.


Like this comment
Posted by duckfan
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 17, 2013 at 1:48 am


Like this comment
Posted by another duckfan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2013 at 5:32 am

Too bad, sooooo sad. Oregon will be PAC12 champs.

Like this comment
Posted by spqr
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

Why are Oregon fans so smug? They couldn't beat half of the southern high schools much less Bama or Florida State.

Like this comment
Posted by ComptonKid
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Nov 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

why does Stanford play so hard just to mess it up for the PAC-12??

Like this comment
Posted by Duck fan
a resident of Woodside
on Nov 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

Tough loss for Stanford. I was pulling for USC of course but I hope Stanford finishes strong against Cal & ND.

The Ducks aren't guaranteed anything as AZ is always a tough place to play and a rivalry game is never a gimme. If we're fortunate enough to win it doesn't give us the Pac-12 title. That game still needs to be played. ASU/UCLA/USC - neither is a walk over.

I'm a happy Duck fan, but Stanford is legit. Props to them on another solid season.

Like this comment
Posted by Quack Addict
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Stanford has a national title level Defense but a non-BCS level Offense. Props to them for handing my Ducks a loss again. I have a great deal of respect for the Stanford program and coach Shaw.

As for who will win the PAC12 this year, you'd have to be a bandwagon Duck fan to believe ANY game is a gimme. One game at a time. Is it nice that Oregon now controls their own destiny again? Sure, but where did that get them before playing Stanford? Its why they play the games.

Go Ducks!

Like this comment
Posted by USC Fan
a resident of Woodside
on Nov 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

As an SC fan, of course I was delighted by the outcome of the game, but I have nothing but respect for Coach Shaw and the Stanford players.

No Pac 12 team will make it to the BCS Championship game, which is a shame as the PAC 12 is the second best if not the best Division 1 conference.

It's also a brutal conference. It's hard for any team to go undefeated in the Pac 12. I'm looking forward to next year's 4-team playoff system when a Pac 12 team will make the playoffs and whup everybody else. Good days ahead!

Like this comment
Posted by Chuck
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Stanford has come up 4 points short of playing in the national title game. If it'd beaten Utah and USC, it would surely be ranked in the top two in the country - given its strength of schedule. But it fell short by 1 point to Utah and 3 to USC. Now it might be playing in the Sun Bowl on December 31. A few inches leads to a mile. Very sad.

Like this comment
Posted by CAC90
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Agree we came up 4 points short in 2 games, but that makes the situation look too good. Should we have made the national title game, I fear our offense would be shut down (because we don't call easy pass plays or have the reliable QB scramble) and while our defense remains great, it could look like last year's Notre Dame debacle.

Like this comment
Posted by scott
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

This comment is for duckfan and another duckfan. I love watching Oregon games and you have an excellent program. My suggestion to you and many of your fans- learn how to win with class.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Scott, I guess they don't have to learn to win with class when they lose with so much finesse. It was a pleasure watching the Ducks cook their own goose today.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ventura

on Jun 6, 2017 at 8:29 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Nobu Palo Alto eyes next-door expansion
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,340 views

Are We Really Up To This?
By Aldis Petriceks | 4 comments | 1,828 views

Couples: Cultivate Love, Gottman Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 572 views

It's contagious
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 246 views