K.J. Costello threw a career-best five touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score to Isiris St. Brown with 8:19 to play as Stanford outlasted host UCLA 49-42 on Saturday afternoon at Pasadena, Calif.
Costello, a junior, threw for 344 yards on 23-for-37 passing and JJ Arcega-Whiteside hauled in three TD passes for the Cardinal (7-4, 5-3), which will wrap up their regular season next week at California before heading to a 10th straight bowl.
Wilton Speight, a senior playing his final college game, passed for a career-best 466 yards and scored a 1-yard fourth-quarter touchdown on a run for the Bruins (3-9, 3-6), who finished up Chip Kelly’s first season as coach. UCLA lost nine games in a season for the first time since going 1-9 in the Pacific Coast Conference in 1940.
In winning for just the third time in its last seven games, Stanford led the offense-dominated affair by as much as two touchdowns after Arcega-Whiteside caught his third TD of the game, a 2-yarder with 5:24 remaining in the third quarter that put the Cardinal up 41-27.
But momentum flipped to the UCLA sidelines shortly thereafter, when Stanford star running back Bryce Love was tackled in the end zone for a safety that cut the Cardinal lead to 12.
Darnay Holmes then returned the ensuing free kick 93 yards for a touchdown, making it a 41-36 game with still 2:09 left in the third period.
Speight put the Bruins up for the first time since 3-0 when his 1-yard run gave UCLA a 42-41 advantage with 9:27 left in the game.
But Costello quickly drove Stanford 75 yards in three plays, with his 52-yard connection with St. Brown, the sophomore’s first career TD reception, providing the winning points.
Love’s successful two-point conversion run completed the scoring.
Costello, who had thrown four touchdown passes four times in his career, connected earlier with Arcega-Whiteside for scores of 19 and 23 yards, and with Trenton Irwin for a 37-yard, second-quarter TD.
Arcega-Whiteside finished with seven catches for 106 yards and his career-best-tying three scores. Irwin had 103 yards on seven receptions and the one score.
Love ran for 85 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries.
Speight, a transfer from Michigan, completed 29 of 47 passes. His previous high for yardage was 362 as a Michigan sophomore against Maryland.
Joshua Kelley, who had two TD runs in last week’s win over rival USC, scored his 11th and 12th TDs of the season on runs of 12 and 1, while Martell Irby scampered in from 12 yards out to create a tie at 27 in the third quarter.
UCLA’s Caleb Wilson caught nine passes for 184 yards.
UCLA outgained Stanford 528-470.
—Field Level Media