|Date of game: 10/19/2013
Recap: Stanford vs. UCLA
Stanford, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The game was all punts and field goals before Kodi Whitfield's catch.
Catch? More like an acrobatic stunt.
"Unbelievable," said his quarterback, who was speaking only from the view he got in real time because he hadn't seen the replays yet.
"He just went up and made a play. I can't wait to see it," Kevin Hogan said.
Whitfield's one-handed, 30-yard touchdown catch between two defenders helped No. 13 Stanford top previously unbeaten UCLA 24-10 on Saturday to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in four years.
The catch gave Stanford a 10-3 lead in the third quarter after a punt-filled first half.
Hogan shouldn't have a hard time finding a replay of it -- long before the game was over, an Internet search produced many websites that already had video and animated GIFs of the catch.
Whitfield -- with Ishmael Adams draped on his back -- leapt in the end zone to grab the ball with his right hand, cradling it into his body as he fell for the touchdown.
The catch was so good -- Whitfield was turned sideways, the right side of his body facing the goal line -- that another UCLA corner streaked in behind him with his arms outstretched, expecting an interception.
All Anthony Jefferson found was air, though, as Stanford (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) took the lead.
"I'm always expecting him to go up and get it," Hogan said of Whitfield, a 6- foot-2 sophomore. "He goes up and gets those balls when they're in the air. I just try to take a little air out of it and give him a chance, and he just did the rest."
"Just a phenomenal play," said Stanford coach David Shaw. "God bless Kodi. Every time we've given him an opportunity, he's made a play."
The Cardinal had a 13-game winning streak snapped in a 27-21 loss at Utah last week and faced the possibility of two straight defeats for the first time since losses to Oregon State and Arizona in October 2009.
Instead, they celebrated homecoming with their 13th straight home win.
Ninth-ranked UCLA -- trying to go 6-0 for the first time in eight years -- suffered its sixth loss in a row to Stanford, including two within a seven-day span last season.
The Bruins (5-1, 2-1) got the ball back after a missed Stanford field goal in the fourth quarter, but punted. After a Cardinal punt, quarterback Brett Hundley was intercepted for the second time by Jordan Richards.
Tyler Gaffney then ran for a 4-yard touchdown to give Stanford its 24-10 lead.
Gaffney rushed for 171 yards and a pair of scores and Hogan passed for 227 yards with an interception in the win.
Hundley threw for 192 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to Shaquelle Evans. Malcolm Jones was UCLA's leading rusher with 30 yards on five carries.
Things won't get any easier for the Bruins, who haven't gone 6-0 since they started 8-0 in 2005. They go on the road to play No. 2 Oregon next Saturday.
Stanford beat UCLA twice in seven days last season, including a 27-24 win in the Pac-12 Championship Game to secure a spot in the Rose Bowl. UCLA hasn't won a game in the series since 2008.
After Whitfield's catch, Richards intercepted Hundley and took it down the right sideline for an apparent touchdown that was called back because of a holding penalty. Stanford scored anyway on Gaffney's 1-yard run for a 17-3 lead with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
UCLA came back with a 75-yard drive and Hundley found Evans in the front of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass that got the Bruins within 17-10 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Backup Stanford kicker Conrad Ukropina missed a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Starter Jordan Williamson, who kicked the game-winning field goal in last season's Pac-12 title game, was out with an injury.
Earlier, Ukropina's 31-yard field goal gave Stanford a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter and came amid nine combined punts in the half. The only other drive that didn't end in a punt was the last one, when UCLA corner Ishmael Adams intercepted Hogan.
The Bruins tied the game at 3-3 on Ka'imi Fairbairn's 38-yard field goal on the first possession of the second half.Game Notes
Stanford is away at Oregon State next week then home against Oregon on Nov. 7
after a bye ... Cardinal tight end Devon Cajuste had seven catches for 109
yards but left the game in the second half with a knee injury.