PALO ALTO — It might not have been a must-win situation for second-year Stanford Coach Buddy Teevens, but the Cardinal's 21-14 victory over UCLA on Saturday was pretty close.
It was Stanford's first Pacific 10 Conference victory in 10 games.
Not only was Stanford coming off its first shutout defeat in seven years, the Cardinal had dropped four consecutive games while giving up 131 points. And not only had the 46-year-old Teevens been brought in as a replacement for the popular Tyrone Willingham with cred- entials as an offensive whiz, the Cardinal offense was pretty much dysfunctional.
The fans had noticed, mainly by staying away. Attendance at Stanford's three home games this year has been 34,345 for San Jose State, 48,526 for Washington State and 44,950 for UCLA -- in Stanford Stadium with a capacity of 85,500.
"They're all big wins. Our guys believe in themselves and believe in what they're doing," Teevens said.
The offense didn't do much Saturday with only 206 yards, but Stanford was 2-9 last year and it is 3-4 this year, so that's a step in the right direction.
"We've had a lot of adversity this season," quarterback Chris Lewis said. "Coach just told everybody to keep their chins up and keep fighting, because we're warriors."
File this one under the statistics-can-be-misleading department: UCLA had 24 first downs compared to Stanford's 10, the Bruins outgained the Cardinal in yards passing (239-91) and total yards (287-206) and had a decided edge in time of possession (33:41-26:19). Score: Stanford 21, UCLA 14.
The difference? UCLA lost two of its three fumbles, one inside its 10-yard line and one at the Stanford 10, the Cardinal scored on Luke Powell's 90-yard punt return, and Stanford sacked Matt Moore eight times for a loss of 53 yards.
"We didn't get the job done executing in a lot of different phases," Coach Karl Dorrell said. "There were a couple of big special teams plays, we had opportunities and fumbled in the red zone, and mistakes like that are crucial -- they can be the difference in a ballgame."
Defensive end Dave Ball's sack of Lewis in the third quarter gave Ball 26 1/2 sacks, tying him with Eric Smith for the UCLA record. Ball has 12 1/2 sacks this season.