By Gary Klein
11:05 PM CST, November 30, 2012
PALO ALTO -- UCLA started fast and showed it could handle a quick turnaround against a Stanford team that had defeated the Bruins soundly six days ago.
But by the end of Friday night’s Pac-12 Conference championship game, the No. 8-ranked Cardinal outlasted the No. 17 Bruins for a berth in the Rose Bowl.
When Kai’imi Fairbairn’s 52-yard field-goal attempt fell short, Stanford had secured a 27-24 victory at Stanford Stadium, sending the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl game for the first time since the 1999 season.
Stanford, which improved to 11-2, will play the winner of Saturday’s Big Ten Conference championship game between Nebraska and Wisconsin.
UCLA (9-4), which had hoped to gain its first Rose Bowl bid since the 1998 season, is probably bound for the Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowl.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown as Stanford fought back from several deficits. He also rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown.
The Bruins lost despite a huge effort from senior running back Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns in 19 carries. He also set a UCLA season record for rushing yards, breaking the mark of 1,571 set by Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley completed 23 of 31 passes for 177 yards, with an interception. He also rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown in 24 carries and established a Cardinal career rushing record.
The score was tied before Jordan Williamson kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give Stanford a 17-14 lead.
But UCLA stopped the Cardinal on the first possession of the second half, and then drove from its 40-yard line to the Cardinal 13 where Ka’imi Fairburn kicked a 31-yard field goal.
UCLA’s defense forced the Cardinal to punt and Hundley took over from there.
He rushed for first downs twice on critical third-down situations and Franklin scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to put the Bruins ahead, 24-17, with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
But Stanford never wavered, Hogan completing a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to receiver Drew Terrell to tie the score with 11:21 left in the game.
Terrell’s kickoff return to the Bruins’ 43-yard line helped set up Williamson’s 36-yard field with 6:49 left, giving Stanford a 27-24 lead.
Bruins were driving but linebacker A.J. Tarpley broke up Hundley’s third-down pass with less than five minutes.
But UCLA got one last chance by forcing the Cardinal had to punt, taking possession with 2:18 left.
Hundley completed a key fourth-down pass that moved the Bruins to the Stanford 34, but the drive stalled and , preserving Stanford’s victory.
UCLA outgained Stanford, 268 yards to 190, in the first half but trailed 17-14 at the break.
Franklin, who rushed for only 65 yards in last week’s 35-17 loss to the Cardinal, set the pace on the opening series.
He touched the ball six times during an eight-play drive that concluded with a 51-yard touchdown.
Stanford answered with a 69-yard, 11-play drive to tie the score.
Taylor had the key play of the drive, catching a short pass from Hogan and breaking four tackles en route to a 33-yard gain.
That to set up Hogan’s one-yard touchdown, which was scored when he faked a handoff and then bootlegged around left end to the end zone.
Hundley, who had been tentative to run with the ball against the Cardinal last week, began to take control on the ensuing series, making two huge plays that put the Bruins ahead.
On a first down at the Bruins' 28, Hundley ran a quarterback draw, going up the middle and then breaking to the left sideline on his way to a 48-yard gain.
Franklin’s 19-yard run gave the Bruins a first down at the Stanford five.
Two plays later, Hundley once again ran to the left side and scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season for a 14-7 lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
Hundley, however, made a costly mistake on the Bruins’ next possession.
Stanford safety Ed Reynolds intercepted a Hundley pass and returned it 80 yards, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Taylor to tie the score early in the second quarter.
Hogan expertly engineered a two-minute drill at the end of the half, Williamson’s field goal giving the Cardinal its first lead.