STANFORD — A dehydrated Tommy Vardell revved up at halftime with doses of sugar water and returned to score two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Stanford upset No. 17 Colorado, 28-21, Saturday.
Vardell missed parts of the second and third quarters while being fed fluids intravenously.
"I didn't feel right even after the first series," said Vardell, who had the flu earlier this week. "But I felt fine for the second half. I knew I had to get back in."
Vardell teamed with Glyn Milburn to supply Stanford's go-ahead touchdown.
Milburn broke free on a 55-yard run to position the Cardinal (1-2) at the Colorado 28. Two plays later, Vardell, behind a block by tackle Bob Whitfield, swept 20 yards around left end for his second touchdown with 13:09 remaining to put Stanford ahead, 21-14.
"I was tired and didn't feel like running over the (final defender) and just dove for the end zone," Vardell said.
Vardell's third touchdown, a seven-yard run, came with 6:37 remaining, and Stanford made it stand up. It followed a Stanford recovery of a fumble by former Dorsey High standout Lamont Warren.
Vardell, who gained 114 yards in 29 carries, and Milburn, who had 106 yards in nine carries, became the first Stanford tandem to surpass 100 yards in rushing in the same game since Brad Muster and Thomas Henley did it against California in 1984.
"We knew going in we could get some big plays because (Colorado) pinches a lot and gambles a lot," Milburn said. "We thought our linemen could move them any way they wanted."
Vardell, nicknamed Touchdown Tommy, has scored 20 touchdowns in his past 14 games. His 23 touchdowns tie him with Mike Dotterer for fifth on Stanford's career list.
The Buffaloes (2-2) lost quarterback Darian Hagan with 12:01 left when he was sacked and injured his left knee.
That's the same knee that was surgically repaired after being damaged in Colorado's Orange Bowl victory over Notre Dame that secured the Buffaloes' 1990 national championship.
Vance Joseph replaced him and drove the Buffaloes 56 yards in 10 plays, capped by Warren's 10-yard touchdown run with 3:47 to play. But it was not enough.
The Cardinal got kickoff returns of 44 and 64 yards from Ozzie Grenardo.