It was a positive production for another home-opening win | News | Palo Alto Online |


It was a positive production for another home-opening win


Sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey had another productive game, rushing for 58 yards on a career-high 20 carries and caught four passes for 59 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown from quarterback Kevin Hogan, in Stanford's 31-7 victory against UCF on Saturday night.

McCaffrey finished with 166 all-purpose yards and had an 80-yard punt for a score nullified by a penalty.

McCaffrey has 337 all-purpose yards in two games.

"Any time you can get a win, the first one of the season, it's a good thing, a positive thing moving forward," he said. "But definitely not good enough to our standard. We've got a lot of things to fix. We're really good when we're executing and playing our game. We think when we're losing or we're down, it's because of us, so we'll go back to the drawing board and really get things fixed this week."

McCaffrey said the offense finally found its rhythm late in the third quarter.

"When we can play like that and play at our best and eliminate all the self-inflicted wounds, we can be a great offense," said McCaffrey.

Said Hogan, "He can do it all. He's very hard on himself, and that is a sign of a great player. I thought he played great in all facets. It stinks that he had the one punt called back. But overall, I think he's going to be more and more comfortable each week."

* * *

Senior strong safety Dallas Lloyd forced Stanford's first turnover of the season with a jarring hit on UCF running back William Stanback in the second quarter at the Cardinal 36-yard line. A former quarterback, Lloyd was making only the second start of his college career.

"My teammates held him up and what our coaches preach is to get to the ball, swarm the ball and gang tackle," he said. "Alijah (Holder) had him and went to strip the ball and was moving his arm around and I just put my helmet on the ball and we know good things happen when everyone rallies to the ball."

Lloyd credited preparation for the string showing, but wasn't satisfied.

"It felt great, but we're not happy enough because we didn't get a shutout," said Lloyd. "The goal was to hold them to zero points and we gave up a touchdown at the end, but I'm very proud of my teammates, the way they came out, the way they worked out and studied during the week. It showed today."

The defense has allowed only two touchdowns in two games, and Lloyd said the young unit is starting to settle in, especially the secondary.

"It's the same as it was at quarterback," Lloyd said, who transitioned to safety after playing quarterback on The Farm. "The first play you go, everything happens so fast and you're happy to have it through the first play. But then, as time goes on, the game starts to slow down and all of those reps that our coaches give us in practice, all of that sweat that we put during the week, pays off because we recognize was offenses are doing. It's a physical game, but it also becomes a chess game. It's who can retain that information and apply that information on Saturday to help us win. If everybody does his job, we'll be just fine. We don't need any super-human efforts."

* * *

Senior inside linebacker Blake Martinez said there was a sense of relief and joy after recording the first win of the 2015 season.

"Yes, we talked about it," said Martinez, who intercepted his fifth career pass and collected a team-high eight tackles. "It's the hardest thing ever to win in college football. Today was a big one and it shows what we're capable of. There's a lot more there and we just have to bring it out each week."

Martinez is proud of the way the defense has stepped up early in the season. It limited UCF to 181 total yards.

"It feels great," he said. "There were a lot of people that questioned our defense, just knowing that nine starters left. Even last week, we're showing how great we can be. We just have to keep going with it."

* * *

Conrad Ukropina kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter to give Stanford a 10-0 halftime lead. It was the longest by a Cardinal kicker since 2009, when Nate Whitaker made a 54-yarder against Wake Forest, and the 11th-longest in school history. Ukropina is 3-for-3 on the season.

"That's awesome," he said afterward. "All of the specialists coming into the season were kind of a question mark and we really wanted to show that we're going to be a very positive part of this team and lift them up. A lot of that credit goes to Coach (Pete) Alamar. He's a great, great fundamental coach and he's been around special teams a long time."

Ukropina was quick to credit his long snapper, C.J. Keller, and his holder, Lloyd.

"C.J. is on the money every time and Dallas is an unbelievable holder," Ukropina said. "You know the ball is going to be there. It makes my job easy. I just go out there and say, 'Let's ride,' and kick the ball."

* * *

Freshman Jake Bailey kicked off and punted twice in UCF territory, the latter batted back by senior wide receiver Rollins Stallworth and downed at the 4-yard line. Bailey also made two unassisted tackles, both saving likely touchdowns on kickoff returns.

"It's an awesome experience being in a game . . . there is nothing like it," said Bailey. "High school is a totally different ballgame from this. Making tackles was fun . . . back to my defensive back days. I haven't made a tackle in more than six months, so it was fun to do."

At Santa Fe Christian High in Solana Beach (Calif.), Bailey made only one tackle on a kickoff his entire career.

"I got a personal foul on it because I hit the kid really hard out of bounds," he said.

* * *

This Saturday, Stanford travels to USC in the 94th meeting between the schools. The Trojans are off to a 2-0 start and lead the overall series, 61-29-3. USC has won the past two meetings, but the Cardinal has claimed four of the past six. Kickoff is 5 p.m. on ABC.

"It's another one of those games where you're focused in that much more," said Martinez. "You know they're going to bring their A-game and we're going to bring our A-game. It's going to be a fun one knowing we're going to the (Los Angeles) Coliseum. We've got to bring it all."

McCaffrey got his first taste of the rivalry last year.

"We look at every game as a big game, but whenever you get a chance to play the Trojans, it's definitely a big game," he said. "We'll really come out fired up for this one and I'm excited."

* * *

Sophomore defensive end Solomon Thomas and junior outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi each registered two tackles for a loss and a sack, while fifth-year senior cornerback Ronnie Harris broke up a career-best three passes.

Senior Nate Lohn and senior Jordan Watkins also gave the defensive line a great lift.

"We practice hard, we play hard," Lohn said. "That's something we've been doing ever since I've been here. It felt very natural.

"One thing I remember before my very first play at Army three years ago was that Shayne Skov just said, 'Play fast.' And every time before I go I think, 'Just play fast.' "

Extra Points: Stanford christened its new fieldhouse and expanded locker room with a rousing rendition of "C-House" after the game, led by Harris . . . Stanford has won eight consecutive home openers . . . Head coach David Shaw is now 11-1 after a loss . . . Freshman wide receiver Trenton Irwin made his first career reception in the first quarter. His 10-yard catch came on third down and gave Stanford a first down . . . Fifth-year senior outside linebacker Kevin Anderson from Palo Alto High wrote the number 66 on his taped left arm to honor sophomore defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, who was lost for the season last week with a knee injury . . . Former offensive lineman Sam Schwartzstein '12 served as Stanford's honorary captain.

* * *

Quotable: "I'll say I threw it 93 yards. Bryce (Love) made me look good. Heck of a run by him." -- Kevin Hogan on the 93-yard swing pass he threw for a touchdown to freshman running back Bryce Love.

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