UCLA football snaps losing streak against Stanford, winning by 18 points
Redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley carried the ball 18 times for 176 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. He also had two rushes of more than 50 yards. (Jintak Han/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Ryan Smith
October 17, 2019 9:45 pm
This post was updated Oct. 25 at 5:05 p.m.
STANFORD, Calif. – The 11-year wait is over for the Bruins.
UCLA football (2-5, 2-2 Pac-12) went on the road and defeated Stanford (3-4, 2-3) 34-16 Thursday night for the program’s first victory over the Cardinal since the 2008 season.
“It feels amazing,” said redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley. “It’s what we play football for.”
The Bruins took control of the game early, scoring on back-to-back drives to open the game thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to redshirt freshman receiver Kyle Philips.
Philips – Thompson-Robinson’s main target throughout the night – posted career-highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. He finished the game with 10 catches for 100 yards and two scores.
Thompson-Robinson said his connection with Philips on Thursday night felt like a culmination of all the work he and the rest of the offense have been putting in since spring.
“I think it goes all the way back to the offseason,” Thompson-Robinson said. “Us and the whole receiver corps and the whole tight end room and running back room, we all get together during the offseason, and work on things like this and it pays off in the season.”
Thompson-Robinson – who missed the team’s previous game against Oregon State with a leg injury – looked healthy in his return to action, completing 21 of his 34 pass attempts for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also put his leg to the test, rushing the ball 13 times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
The Bruins also had things going on the ground, rushing the ball for 263 yards. Redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley led all players with 176 yards rushing and had two separate runs of more than 50 yards – one being a 54-yard touchdown.
UCLA finished the night with 455 total yards of offense, and coach Chip Kelly said he thinks the offense has hit its stride with everybody healthy and performing.
“I think we’re balanced right now,” Kelly said. “We have the ability with (Kelley) and (redshirt junior running back Demetric Felton) to run the ball and I thought (Thompson-Robinson) really kept things alive with his legs today. I don’t know if he had close to 100 yards himself, but I thought he made really good decisions.”
However, it was the defense that stole the show Thursday night. The unit allowed just 198 total yards and nine points to a Stanford offense led by third-string quarterback Jack West who was making his first career collegiate start.
The Cardinal were without starting quarterback K.J. Costello and his back-up Davis Mills, but Kelly said he and his staff entered the week expecting the Stanford offense to operate like normal despite the absence of the top two signal-callers on the depth chart.
“It didn’t really change what (West) did,” Kelly said. “The route combinations were the same, the protections were the same, and their run game was the same. I think the defensive coaches had a solid plan, and I really thought our players executed it tonight.”
The Bruins sacked West a season-high seven times in the game and recorded 11 tackles for loss. They also managed to keep the Cardinal offense out of the end zone until the 2:50 mark of the fourth quarter.
West finished his night 15-of-32 passing for 143 yards.
The Bruins remain just one game back in the loss column in the Pac-12 South with the win, putting themselves right in the thick of things with five games left in the regular season.
UCLA will return home next week to face Arizona State – one of the four schools in the Pac-12 South with just one loss.