Thompson-Robinson leads No. 24 UCLA past Stanford 35-24

Sep 25, 2021, 6:33 AM | Updated: 7:47 pm

Stanford wide receiver Elijah Higgins (6) catches a pass over UCLA defensive back Martell Irby (12) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — When the game was on the line, Dorian Thompson-Robinson wasn’t going to allow UCLA to lose.

Thompson threw a tiebreaking 75-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter and came back from a banged-up shoulder to throw a clinching touchdown late that helped No. 24 UCLA spoil Stanford’s return home with a 35-24 victory over the Cardinal on Saturday.

“The one thing I don’t think gets mentioned enough with Dorian is how tough he is. He’s been tough from the get-go,” coach Chip Kelly said. “It’s an underrated quality for a quarterback to be a tough guy. I think that was on display tonight. It’s something that we’ve known for four years now. But I think he really showed that tonight.”

Stanford (2-2, 1-1 Pac-12) had played its last seven games away from home because of COVID-19 protocols last season and a tough opening schedule. The Cardinal managed to win six of those games but came out flat against the Bruins (3-1, 1-0).

UCLA broke out to a 14-0 lead and then, after letting Stanford battle back to tie it, got the biggest play of the game when Thompson-Robinson found Kyle Phillips open deep over the middle for the long TD on the next play from scrimmage.

The Bruins sealed the win when Thompson-Robinson threw a 5-yard TD pass to Phillips after briefly leaving the game with the hurt shoulder.

“We saw him go down,” Phillips said. “He was fighting a shoulder injury the whole game. He ran the ball, went down and game was on the line, came back and made a huge play. We’re all just really proud of him.”

Stanford started the game with five straight three-and-outs and trailed 14-0 on short TD runs by Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet before the offense even got going.

Tanner McKee then started to find some open receivers downfield as the Cardinal worked their way back into the game. Elijah Higgins’ made a toe-tapping 19-yard TD grab to get Stanford on the board in the second quarter.

Then, after the Bruins went back up by 14 on Thompson-Robinson’s second TD run late in the first half, McKee connected on a 56-yard TD pass to Higgins in the third quarter and a 52-yarder to Bryce Farrell early in the fourth to tie the game at 21.

But Thompson-Robinson answered on the next play and UCLA held on for the win, thanks in part to Stanford coach David Shaw settling for a 48-yard field goal on fourth-and-2 with 9:10 to play.

“It’s not even a question for me,” Shaw said. “Take all the analytics you want. Analytics don’t matter. Football matters. One-score game with nine minutes to go and that’s what we did.”


UCLA: Thompson-Robinson once again delivered the big plays in a win over the Cardinal and helped the Bruins bounce back from a 40-37 loss to Fresno State last week. UCLA won for just the second time in the past 14 games in this series, with the only wins coming in a 34-16 victory at Stanford Stadium in 2019 and this game. Thompson-Robinson accounted for seven TDs in those games.

Stanford: The Cardinal struggled to move the ball on the ground without injured running backs Austin Jones, Casey Filkins and E.J. Smith. That contributed to the slow start and made for a disappointing finish in Stanford’s first home game with fans in 665 days.

“Obviously don’t feel good about losing our first home game,” defensive end Thomas Booker said. “At the same time, you got to let that fuel your preparation. So feel sick about it, but do something about it. That’s how we are right now.”


After blowing a lead in the final minute to Fresno State last week and squandering a 14-point advantage in the fourth quarter in a loss last year to Stanford, the Bruins made sure to finish the job this week.

“It just took guts. Guts to want to finish a game,” defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight said. “Last week versus Fresno we weren’t able to go in and absolutely finish the game the way we’ve been coached. This week during practice that was the main thing. … We finished. The Bruins finished.”


UCLA: Host Arizona State on Saturday.

Stanford: Host No. 3 Oregon on Saturday.


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Philadelphia Phillies' Kyle Schwarber celebrates after the Phillies won a baseball game against the...
Associated Press

Third wild card creates opportunity for another playoff team

The Philadelphia Phillies grabbed baseball’s last playoff ticket on Monday, and Bryce Harper and company partied into the night. ” We’re in! We did it! We did it! ” slugger Rhys Hoskins yelled as the celebration kicked into high gear. It’s the first playoff appearance for Philly since 2011, and no one seemed to care […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Rebecca Vardy to pay $1.7M in costs after losing court fight

LONDON (AP) — Rebekah Vardy, the wife of English soccer player Jamie Vardy, has to pay about 1.5 million pounds ($1.7 million) in legal costs to fellow soccer spouse Coleen Rooney after losing the high-profile libel lawsuit she brought against Rooney. Vardy, 40, lost her libel claim against Rooney, 36, in July when a judge […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Tiger Woods follows his ball at the fourth tee during the last round of the Hero World Chall...
Associated Press

Tiger Woods yet to announce if he joins strong Bahamas field

Tiger Woods has another loaded field for his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Woods on Tuesday announced 17 players for the 20-man field, and all but four are from the top 21 in the world ranking. Still to be announced is whether the player at No. 1,195 in the world — Woods — will […]
13 hours ago
Umpire crew chief Todd Tichenor announces the outcome of a play review during a baseball game betwe...
Associated Press

Beyond the grunt: Umpires mic up, and baseball changes a bit

NEW YORK (AP) — After a century and a half of Major League Baseball — after generations of grunts and growls, of muffled shouts and dramatic arm gestures and a cultivated sense of remoteness — something quietly extraordinary happened to the national pastime this year: The umpires began talking to the world. On April 5, […]
13 hours ago
FILE — USA athletes cast the rock to sweep and curl while competing at the U.S. Olympic Curling T...
Associated Press

USA Curling: CEO prioritized athlete safety as head of NWSL

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — USA Curling says CEO Jeff Plush “acted in accordance with prioritizing the safety of athletes” during his tenure as leader of the National Women’s Soccer League, where an investigation uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct. The curling board met Monday after a report on the independent investigation into […]
2 days ago
FILE - Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper speaks during an NHL hockey media day before Game ...
Associated Press

Cup loss aside, the NHL’s East still runs through Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are accustomed to short offseasons. This one, the Lightning captain said, “wasn’t as fun as the previous two.” The Stanley Cup relocated to Colorado after the Avalanche dethroned the two-time defending champion Lightning in a six-game final in July. The Eastern Conference, however, still seems very likely to […]
2 days ago
Thompson-Robinson leads No. 24 UCLA past Stanford 35-24