NCAA

No. 19 Stanford sluggish in 24-17 win over Cougars

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No. 19 Stanford sluggish in 24-17 win over Cougars

BOX SCORE
STANFORD -- Ed Reynolds returned an interception for a touchdown and No. 19 Stanford sacked Jeff Tuel 10 times to overcome a sloppy offensive effort in a 24-17 victory over Washington State on Saturday.Reynolds stepped in front of Tuel's pass for the safety's fourth interception - and second returned for a score - this season early in the fourth quarter. He ran 25 yards untouched into the end zone to give the Cardinal a two-touchdown lead and highlight another dominant defense effort that held the Cougars (2-6, 0-5 Pac-12) to minus-16 yards rushing.Stanford (6-2, 4-1) still produced little separation on the scoreboard due to an ineffective offense.Josh Nunes completed 7 of 15 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown and Ryan Hewitt ran for a short score. A week after running for a career-high 189 yards against rival California, Stepfan Taylor was held to 58 yards on 21 carries.If not for its defense, Stanford's Pac-12 North Division hopes might be dashed.Tuel led a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kristoff Williams with 6:29 to play to bring Washington State within a touchdown. Stanford managed two first downs before punting the ball back to Washington State.Marquess Wilson made a leaping 42-yard catch to give the Cougars the ball at the Stanford 23. And on fourth-and-21, Bobby Ratliffe caught a 25-yard pass from Tuel at the Stanford 9.Then Usua Amanam pressured Tuel as the quarterback threw the ball into the ground for a 15-yard intentional grounding penalty and an automatic 10-second runoff. With Washington State looking for one final heave to the end zone, Henry Anderson planted Tuel into the ground for a final sack as time expired.Tuel threw for 401 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 43 of 60 passes - mostly short outs that Stanford allowed - but needed one more.Then again, both teams had few offensive highlights in this one.Tuel hit Dominique Williams for a 43-yard completion, then went to him again when he floated a 3-yard TD pass to the corner of the end zone that put the Cougars ahead 7-3 midway through the second quarter.The rare lead for Washington State this season didn't last long.Just 47 seconds later, Nunes found Jamal-Rashad Patterson on a broken play with the cornerback blitzing and no safety help over the top. Patterson caught the short pass and sprinted down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown that put Stanford back in front 10-7 on its longest play of the season.Gabe Marks caught seven passes for 52 yards for Washington State before getting sandwiched by two defenders in the second quarter and limping off the field. The Cougars patiently dinked-and-dunked the ball down field to set up Andrew Furney's tying 24-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.The momentum never carried over.Stanford took advantage of a pass interference call on Anthony Carpenter that extended the opening drive of the third quarter. Hewitt bulldozed through the line for a 1-yard TD run - the fullback's first of the season - on third down to give the Cardinal a 17-10 lead, the only drive all game they looked in rhythm.Reynolds intercepted Tuel's pass and returned it for a score to put Stanford ahead 24-10 with 10:43 remaining. With the offense struggling to control the clock, Washington State made one final charge until the Cardinal defense again flexed its muscles.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.

From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

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From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

Stanford has a penchant for recruiting the overachieving student-athlete. Even among those standards, Harrison Phillips is a rare find. The senior defensive tackle helps feed the homeless every Friday morning at a local shelter. He often visits the kids in the oncology ward at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He was named to the Pac-12 All Academic First Team and will graduate in December with a double major and a minor. He is a team captain and heir apparent to Solomon Thomas, the 49ers third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

“One thing you love about Harrison is, every day he’s going to get something done,” head coach David Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area. “On the field, off the field, in the community, he’s always got a million things going on. But nothing ever suffers.

"He does everything at a high level.”

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Phillips is a mountain of a man. His skill set is different than that of Thomas, but he can be just as disruptive. He plays over the center. He plays over the guards. His self-proclaimed job is to eat as many blocks as possible to keep the linebackers free.

“He’s such that hard point for us. He’s that guy up front that’s getting knock back, that force in the run game that you gotta have,” defensive coordinator Lance Anderson explained. “You have to have that strong solid point in the middle of your defense, and he provides that.”

Phillips had a game-high 11 tackles, five of them solo, in the Cardinal’s loss to USC. No other defensive lineman on the field had more than three.

“He’s outstanding against the run. He’s a very good pass rusher,” Shaw added. “He’s got a lot of tools that can work inside.”

Phillips main instruments of domination are strength, knowledge of leverage and abnormal flexibility for a man of his size.

“He can do the splits on command,” Thomas said laughing from in front of his locker after a recent 49ers practice. “He loves showing it off. We get on him for it. But he loves doing it.

And, according to Thomas, his former Stanford teammate loves to bench. So it comes as no surprise that Phillips’ upper body strength stands out.

“He’ll be really low in a position that you think he’d get knocked over in,” Thomas explained. “Because of how flexible he is, it’s not a problem for him to get in that position and stay there and move on from there. It definitely shows up on his film.”

No doubt, Phillips says, that ability comes from his wrestling experience. His high school curriculum vitae includes, “Nebraska State Wrestling Champion, Heavy Weight Division, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.”

Phillips first year on The Farm, he vividly remembers his Stanford coaches testing him. Just a mere 245 pounds at the time, they put him up against Joshua Garnett and Andrus Peat, two offensive linemen now in the NFL and each well over 300 pounds.

“They’d double team me, almost 700 pounds on you, and I would somehow find leverage and be able to sit on some of those double teams,” Phillips said. “I think the violence that wrestling brings, and balance and being comfortable in weird positions, wrestling has a ton of scrambling, as it's called, you just know your body and know what you can do. I have tremendous flexibility, and I use everything to my advantage.”

One thing Phillips is not allowed to do is use his explosiveness away from the football field. At one time, Phillips could do a back flip off the wall, but he no longer attempts it.

“I’m not a big fan of the back hand springs,” Shaw said. “I’d like for him to stay on his feet.”

Phillips doesn’t argue. He lost his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, and doesn’t want to risk another. He has NFL aspirations and put himself in position to graduate in three-and-a-half years should he choose to enter the 2018 draft. But just as he has done at Stanford, he is looking to be more than just a name on a jersey should he play on a professional level.

“I want to build something that is really lasting,” Phillips said of his life goal, “and put my name on something to touch people’s lives and change people’s lives, pay it forward as much as I can.”