NCAA

Stanford overcomes sluggish start, defeats Beavers 38-13

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Stanford overcomes sluggish start, defeats Beavers 38-13

BOX SCORECORVALLIS, Ore. -- Fourth-ranked Stanford was wary of Oregon State, and a slow start against the Beavers on Saturday gave the Cardinal even more reason for concern.After a thrilling triple-overtime victory against USC and the big Pac-12 North contest looming against No. 6 Oregon next weekend, the lowly Beavers mounted a threat when they closed to within 17-13 in the third quarter.But then Stanford did what Stanford does, pulling away for a 38-13 victory on Saturday."I think we have a mature football team," Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck said. "We understood it could be a trap game sandwiched between two great teams but I think our football team is mature enough to understand that if we don't win this game the rest of the games don't matter."Luck shook off the rain and the chill to throw for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.But it came at a price for Stanford, who lost senior receiver Chris Owusu to a concussion in the second quarter after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Beavers cornerback Jordan Poyer. Owusu was taken from the field by ambulance.Stanford (9-0, 7-0 Pac-12) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 17 games. The Cardinal have not opened 9-0 since 1952.Redshirt freshman Sean Mannion threw for 252 yards and a touchdown for Oregon State (2-7, 2-4), which is guaranteed a losing season with the defeat. The Beavers' only wins have come against Arizona and Washington State.Stanford was coming off the 56-48 overtime win over Southern California. Next week, the Cardinal host the Ducks in a game that could decide the Pac-12 North's representative in the league's inaugural championship game.Luck completed 20 of 30 passes with one interception. He upped his touchdown pass total to 26, six shy of his own school record set last year, by spreading it around and connecting for scores with Coby Fleener, Stepfan Taylor and Griff Whalen.Saturday's victory was the Heisman Trophy candidate's first in the state of Oregon."I though we left a lot of plays out there," Luck said. "Credit to Oregon State, which played tough. It was a tough atmosphere out there."The Cardinal opened with a 2-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Stewart before Luck found Whalen with a 17-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.Oregon State was efficient on drive that ended with Mannion's 15-yard TD pass to James Rodgers midway through the second quarter.On Stanford's next series, Poyer collided helmet-to-helmet with Owusu. As he was loaded into the ambulance, the receiver gave a thumbs up.The hit knocked the ball out of Owusu's hands and Poyer scooped it up and ran back into the end zone. But it was nullified when Poyer was called for a personal foul on the hit.Poyer said later he thought he hit shoulder to helmet. But he understood the call."It was a bang-bang play. The ref saw helmet-to-helmet contact. He's going to make that call every time," Poyer said.Erik Whitaker added a 31-yard field goal for Stanford before halftime to make it 17-7.The Beavers narrowed it early in the second half on freshman Malcolm Agnew's 2-yard scoring dive. It appeared that they had momentum, but on their next series the Beavers were hurt by a holding penalty on Markus Wheaton on a play that would have been good for a first down in Stanford territory."We had a pretty nice-looking drive up to that point, I think," Riley said.Stanford went up 23-13 on Luck's 27-yard touchdown pass to Taylor and before the third quarter was over, Luck found Fleener with a 14-yard pass. Tyler Gaffney ran 10 yards for Stanford's final score.Overall the Cardinal rushed for 300 yards, compared to just 33 rushing yards for the Beavers. Stanford had 507 yards in total offense, while Oregon State had 285."It really hurts you in a game when you can't sustain more running yardage than that," Riley said.The Beavers were short-handed on offense because of injuries, missing slotback Jordan Bishop, tailback Jovan Stevenson and two offensive line starters, Grant Johnson and Burke Ellis.Stanford said Owusu was conscious and had full range of mobility in his extremities. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays.Last week in the 56-48 victory over the Trojans, safety T.J. McDonald leveled Owusu with a hit to the head, drawing a personal foul penalty late in regulation. The Pac-12 suspended McDonald for the first half of Friday's night game at Colorado for the late hit.Tests after the game did not show a concussion, but Owusu did strain his shoulder.Owusu also suffered what Stanford coach David Shaw described as a "minor concussion" in a win at Washington State in mid-October.Going into the game, the senior receiver had 33 catches for 370 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had a 33-yard run against the Beavers in the first quarter.Owusu returned to Reser and was in the locker room after the game. His status for next week against Oregon is not known.

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.”