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Stanford tops UCLA for Pac-12 crown, Rose Bowl bid

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Stanford tops UCLA for Pac-12 crown, Rose Bowl bid

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) After the final whistle blew, Stanford coach David Shaw lifted his arms in triumph. His players paraded around the field, and students came down from the stands to surround them from all sides.

So much for a transition year.

The post-Andrew Luck Era sure seems awfully rosy.

Kevin Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score, helping eighth-ranked Stanford beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. The redshirt freshman won game MVP honors while leading the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than a decade.

``The best thing about it, the only people that believed are the guys that are in that locker room,'' said Shaw, who has won Pac-12 Coach of the Year in his first two seasons since replacing Jim Harbaugh.

``The guys that we recruited, we recruited with those guys in mind. And I've said it a million times: If you can get enough tough, smart, motivated individuals in one locker room that like to win in everything they do, they like to be successful, they push themselves, they push each other, if you've got that kind of a locker room, you can beat anybody.''

Hogan's biggest highlight came in the biggest moment of the game.

As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown pass to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score, lifting Stanford to its first conference title since the 1999 season.

Many of the sparse crowd announced at 31,622 rushed the field. Players, wearing their all-black uniforms, danced on the sideline and later carried roses - or stuck them in their mouths - as confetti flew from a stage erected on the field.

The Cardinal (11-2) will play the winner of the Big Ten title game between Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

UCLA's Brett Hundley threw for 177 yards and a costly interception that set up a Stanford touchdown. He still almost brought the Bruins (9-4) back, but Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field goal wide left in the closing moments of the disappointing loss.

Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes for a fourth win over a ranked opponent in his fourth straight start since unseating Josh Nunes at quarterback. After the Cardinal rolled past UCLA 35-17 last Saturday at the Rose Bowl, it took all 60 minutes to secure another victory in a rare rematch.

Scattered showers made the grass a bit slick, though the surface never seemed to slow down the Bruins, who ran for 284 yards with Johnathan Franklin (194 yards) leading the way. It was the most yards rushing allowed this season by Stanford, which yielded 198 in an overtime victory at Oregon two weeks earlier.

No matter.

The Cardinal did just enough to win their seventh straight game and advance to their third different BCS bowl in as many seasons. They have won at least 11 games each year, part of a run that began behind Harbaugh and Luck, and now has carried on with Shaw and Hogan.

Stanford had won 10 games only three times before in program history (1992, 1940 and 1926).

``It's been a good month,'' Hogan said. ``We've been playing well. Especially for me, just being able to play, it's been fun. The guys around me make it a lot easier than it looks.''

The Bruins made the final roadblock more difficult than expected.

UCLA converted a pair of third downs before Franklin burst through the middle for a 51-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive. He carried safety Jordan Richards the final 5 yards into the end zone.

Stanford answered quickly. Hogan ran 14 yards on a read-option keeper to convert a long third down, fullback Ryan Hewitt bulldozed through the line on a fourth-and-1, and Stepfan Taylor took a short pass 33 yards to within inches of the goal line. On the next play, Hogan faked a handoff and rolled untouched for the tying touchdown.

Taylor finished with 78 yards rushing to eclipse Darrin Nelson's school record of 4,169. Taylor, an outgoing senior, has 4,212 for his career.

Before the Cardinal offense even found their seats on the sideline, Hundley ran 48 yards and scrambled for a 5-yard TD to put UCLA back in front, 14-7.

With the Bruins about to go ahead two scores, Ed Reynolds intercepted Hundley's pass and returned it 80 yards to set up Taylor's short TD run.

Officials ruled that Reynolds, who has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season, was tackled by Hundley short of the goal line and a replay challenge by Shaw was inconclusive. Reynolds moved into a tie with Oregon State's Jordan Poyer for the Pac-12 lead with six interceptions.

Williamson kicked a 37-yard field goal as the first half expired to give Stanford a 17-14 lead. Fairbairn answered with a field goal from 31 yards on UCLA's opening drive of the second half.

Franklin capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 20-yard TD run late in the third quarter. That gave the Bruins a 24-17 advantage and put Stanford on the brink of its first home loss this season.

Instead, the Cardinal came back in impressive fashion.

After shaking off the safety, Hogan heaved the long touchdown to Terrell just over the cornerback's head. Terrell caught the pass in the short corner and pointed to the poncho-wearing crowd.

``We knew we had to remain calm and play our style,'' Hogan said. ``We kept to it. We pounded the ball, got field position, got the TD to tie it.''

Stanford stuffed UCLA three-and-out and Terrell returned the punt 18 yards to the Bruins 43. That set up Williamson's tiebreaking field goal.

One last UCLA drive nearly sent the game to overtime.

Tight end Joseph Fauria caught a pass over the middle on fourth-and-7 and lateraled the ball to Jordon James to finish a 17-yard completion. That helped set up Fairbairn's field goal with 34 seconds left, and the kick never looked on target.

``There's a lot of tears and a lot of disappointment but I think they should be proud of what we accomplished,'' first-year UCLA coach Jim Mora said.

Stanford has won five straight against the Bruins, who were going for their first conference championship since 1998.

The crowd was the smallest at 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium since the Cardinal drew 30,626 against Sacramento State on Sept. 4, 2010.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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Report shows Bruce Allen won't trade Trent Williams now, but could that change?

Report shows Bruce Allen won't trade Trent Williams now, but could that change?

No practices. No games. No voluntary workouts. No mandatory workouts. No training camp. Trent Williams hasn't attended a single Redskins team event in 2019. Not one. And still he remains on the team.

NFL Network reported on Saturday morning that while the Redskins have gotten plenty of calls about the seven-time Pro Bowler Williams, Washington team president Bruce Allen has no intention to trade the left tackle.

Browns GM John Dorsey publicly admitted this week that he's been calling the Redskins about possibly trading for Williams but that it "takes two to tango." The implication being Allen isn't taking serious part in trade talks, and that coincides with the NFL Network report. 

If Allen is intent on waiting until January to trade Williams, the Redskins boss retains that power. Allen makes trades, unilaterally, and whether or not it should be the case, it remains that case. DeAngelo Hall explained on his podcast last month that he didn't expect Williams to be traded until the offseason either. Hall explained that Allen wanted to trade Williams on his own terms, and that won't happen in season. 

There could be strategic advantages to holding on to Williams this year too. If Williams doesn't play, and the Redskins trade him in January, that will leave two years on his contract. If Washington traded him now, he would have only the remainder of this season plus the 2020 season to entice bidders. There also are salary cap rollovers available if Williams doesn't play this year and the team moves on in the offseason.

It also seems kind of crazy not to trade Williams now. 

If a team needs a tackle, Williams' value won't be as high in January as it is right now. Period. The trade deadline comes on October 29th, and Williams could likely command a large asking price. Dorsey is openly talking about wanting Williams. He wouldn't do that if he didn't mean that. 

Allen has made it clear that moving on from Williams now isn't in the cards, but one source inside the Redskins Park headquarters still said he wouldn't be surprised if something happens before the deadline. But what makes that happen?

The offers might need to change. 

Think about things in the context of Allen's approach: If the Redskins are close, then players help more than draft picks. If Washington is going to give up one of their best players, or arguably their best player, then Allen might want a star player back in a trade. 

Does that offer exist? Is Allen even interested? Those answers aren't clear. 

What is clear, however, is that the Redskins made a shift towards accountability. At least that's what's been said.

The team fired Jay Gruden two weeks and moved to interim head coach Bill Callahan. Much of Callahan's message has been about increasing physicality on the field and responsibility off it. For that message to work, how can the team continue to let the Williams situation linger?

Throughout Williams' holdout, Redskins leadership has dismissed the idea of trading Williams. During training camp the word was Williams would not be traded, at all. In fact, Allen said he expected Williams to rejoin the team before the regular season started. Seven games later, no sign of Williams. 

After firing Jay Gruden two weeks ago, Allen held a press conference. Asked about trading Williams, Allen replied, "No, not at this time."

Well, last week for the first time Callahan got asked about trading Williams. It's not Callahan's call to make the trade, but the answer sounded different.

"I think you’re always looking to improve your roster by any means," the interim coach said. "Whether you’re acquiring by trade or acquiring it through free agency or obviously guys off the waiver wire, we’re always looking."

Callahan says the Redskins are always looking to improve. That means the question is what justifies improvement to Allen. 

Maybe it's not picks. Maybe it's players. The deadline comes in about nine days. Questions will be answered. 

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Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

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USA TODAY Sports

Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

Virginia sits atop the Coastal Division standings after a win over Duke while Virginia Tech remains in the race after a six-overtime thriller over UNC. Maryland dropped another Big Ten game, Navy dominated South Florida and Penn State held on to edge Michigan in the Whiteout.

Here's a recap of the week's local action.

Navy 35, South Florida 3

The good

Navy’s defense completely dominated the Bulls forcing seven punts and one interception. This is the first time since 2013 the Midshipmen have not allowed a touchdown in a game. Navy now has a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2017 and sit one win away from becoming bowl eligible. That’s quite the turnaround for a team than won just three games last year.

The bad

The one thing that did not seem to go well for Navy on Saturday was the pass offense. That was something Ken Niumatalolo wanted to add to the offense this year. Quarterback Malcolm Perry attempted only three passes, one was incomplete and the other two were completed...to South Florida.

With three total turnovers on the day, Navy’s turnover margin for the season dropped to minus-3.

The ugly

Things always get ugly when one team knows what the other wants to do and still can’t stop it. South Florida loaded the box to stop the option and couldn’t. The Bulls even put 11 players in the box and still Navy continued to march up and down the field for a season-high 434 rushing yards.

Virginia Tech 43, North Carolina 41 (6OT)

The good

A Virginia Tech offense that was completely left for dead earlier in the season has really come alive. Quarterback Hendon Hooker who took over as the starter before the game against Miami was credited with the turnaround, but he suffered an injury late in the first half Saturday. Ryan Willis took over initially and completed all three of his pass attempts including one touchdown. Justin Fuente, however, wisely elected to replace Willis with third-string quarterback Quincy Patterson for the second half.

The offense seemingly comes alive with a dual-threat quarterback under center which Willis is not. WIth him in, this offense has a ceiling that likely could not have kept up with North Carolina.

The move paid off as Patterson threw for 54 yards, rushed for another 122 and scored two total touchdowns plus the game-clinching two-point conversion in overtime.

The win incredibly puts Virginia Tech right back in the thick of the ACC Coastal Division race and puts them two wins away from bowl eligibility with five games remaining.

The bad

Once again, the Hokies defense was torched giving up 491 yards, 41 points and forcing no turnovers. It’s a good thing the offense has started to figure things out because the defense has not been able to offer much help of late.

The ugly

You don’t get to six overtimes without some ugliness. Both teams managed 10 points in the first two overtimes, then Hokies kicker Brian Johnson missed a 41-yard field goal in triple overtime giving North Carolina the chance to win. Noah Ruggles, however, missed a 35-yard field goal forcing a fourth overtime.

Virginia Tech stuffed North Carolina for minus-two yards and blocked North Carolina’s field goal. With a chance to redeem himself, Johnson lined up for the 42-yard field goal and the win...and missed again.

Mercifully, the new college overtime rules take kicking out of the equation by the fifth overtime and give each team one play for a two-point conversation. Virginia Tech was stopped in fifth overtime, North Carolina failed in their next two attempts and Patterson finally ended the game in the sixth OT, running the ball in from three yards for the win.

Indiana 34, Maryland 28

The good

With no Anthony McFarland Jr. who was out with a high-ankle sprain, the Terps needed a big game from Javon Leake and he delivered with a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns.

The bad

You never want to see a player get injured, but from a purely competitive standpoint, Maryland should have had an advantage when Indiana’s starting quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., was forced out of the game early in the second quarter with an injury. Yet, it still didn’t matter as Maryland’s defense was picked apart by backup Peyton Ramsey.

To be fair, Ramsey was the Hoosiers’ starter last season and lost his job to Penix. He decided to stick with Indiana and was ready when called upon Saturday, completing 20 out of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.

This marks the second straight week the Terps were beaten by a team playing its backup quarterback. For the game, Maryland gave up 520 total yards including 334 through the air.

The ugly

Despite their troubles on defense, the Terps still had an opportunity to win this game. With less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the score 31-28, Maryland got the ball back deep in their own territory. In just one play, however, Leake had the ball stripped and it was recovered by Indiana. The Hoosiers tacked on a field goal, but Maryland got the ball back again with a chance to win, this time down by six. The offense managed to drive the ball to Indiana’s 42, but Tyrrell Pigrome overthrew his receiver for an interception to seal the game. That’s two turnovers late in the fourth quarter when Maryland still could have won the game.

Virginia 48, Duke 14

The good

A Duke offense that had scored 30 points or more in each of its last five games was held to just 14 by Virginia’s defense on Saturday. Only one of those touchdowns was against starters as the second came in the fourth quarter when the backups for both teams came into the game. The Blue Devils had just 166 total yards in those first three quarters.

The win puts the Cavaliers in first place in the Coastal Division at 3-1. Pitt, who Virginia beat to open the season, sits in second at 2-1.

The bad

Virginia’s offense remains a one-man show with Bryce Perkins responsible for 152 of Virginia’s 153 yards (111 passing, 42 rushing) in the first half of the game. That cost UVA in its previous two losses and will cost them again this season if Virginia can't find its quarterback some help.

The ugly

The Cavaliers forced a whopping five turnovers from the Blue Devils on the day and turned those turnovers into 20 points. That’s how a seemingly evenly matched game turned into a 34-point blowout.

Penn State 28, Michigan 21

The good

Quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for all four of Penn State’s touchdowns with three passing touchdowns and one one-yard run. K.J. Hamler was his favorite target and he torched Michigan’s secondary with 108 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.

The bad 

The NittanyLion’s strength this season has been its defense while Michigan’s offense has struggled to find an identity. They seemed to find it Saturday as they tore through Penn State’s defense for 417 total yards.

The ugly

What is home-field advantage worth? A heck of a lot. The Whiteout flustered Michigan early on as the Wolverines had to call timeout before their very first snap on offense. The next drive ended when a false start on a third-and-long prevented any chance of Michigan getting the first down.

This loss drops Jim Harbaugh’s record against top-10 teams while at Michigan to 1-10.