LOS ANGELES — Stepfan Taylor ran for the tying touchdown with 38 seconds left in regulation and the go-ahead score in the third overtime, and Stanford's defense preserved its 16-game winning streak by forcing Curtis McNeal's fumble into the end zone to finish a 56-48 victory over No. 20 Southern California on Saturday night.
Andrew Luck burnished his Heisman Trophy credentials by engineering four late scoring drives for No. 4 Stanford (8-0, 6-0 Pac-12), which rallied after trailing for the first time all season.
But four years after Stanford stunned USC (6-2, 3-2) with a one-point victory as a 41-point underdog, the schools played another classic on a cool Coliseum night — and once again, the Cardinal ruled.
Both teams scored on the first two OT possessions. After Taylor's run in the third OT, Coby Fleener caught the 2-point conversion pass.
USC quickly to first-and-goal at the 4, but Terrence Stephens forced the ball from McNeal. It squirted into the end zone and A.J. Tarpley jumped on it. After a lengthy Stanford celebration, Luck was among the last players to leave the Coliseum field, sprinting to the locker room while thrusting his arms triumphantly in the air.
Luck passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a key score, but the Cardinal were in serious trouble after he made a rare mistake. Nickell Robey intercepted his pass and returned it 33 yards for a score to make it 34-27 with 3:08 left in regulation.
Luck calmly engineered a 76-yard drive capped by Taylor's short score.
Matt Barkley passed for 284 yards and three scores in his third straight loss to Luck. He got the Trojans into Stanford territory in the final seconds of regulation, but Robert Woods used up the final 9 seconds running to the sideline, preventing USC from trying a long field goal. USC coach Lane Kiffin said he was "very disappointed" the officials didn't allow him to call a timeout before it ended.
No. 7 OREGON 43, WASHINGTON STATE 28: At Eugene, Ore., Oregon stars LaMichael James and Darron Thomas returned from injury but true freshman De'Anthony Thomas sparked the Ducks with two second-half touchdowns. Darron Thomas, who missed a game because of a knee injury, returned to start against the Cougars but threw two interceptions in the first half and was replaced by backup Bryan Bennett in the second.2 comments on this story
No. 23 ARIZONA STATE 43, COLORADO 14: At Tempe, Ariz., Brock Osweiler threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, Cameron Marshall added three scores on the ground and No. 23 Arizona State avoided a letdown with a 48-14 rout over Colorado on Saturday.
UCLA 31, CALIFORNIA 14: At Pasadena, Calif., freshman safety Tevin McDonald made the first three interceptions of his college career, Derrick Coleman scored three touchdowns, and UCLA bounced back from one of its most embarrassing losses in years. McDonald's interceptions set up two touchdowns and a field goal for the Bruins (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12), who took the heat off much-maligned coach Rick Neuheisel.