Fourth quarter drama ends in Frogs’ favor

Despite leading for most of the game, Stanford came up just short on Saturday, falling 38-36 to the Horned Frogs at Stanford Stadium in a game that, for the second straight week, was decided in the final minute.The game came down to the wire, as the Horned Frogs (4-3) pulled ahead 38-34 on an Aaron Brown touchdown run with just 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Tavita Pritchard in his second career start, the Cardinal offense marched down the field and once again looked like it might engineer another dramatic comeback in front of nearly 37,000 fans at Stanford’s homecoming game.

But when Pritchard was sacked for a loss of eight yards on second-and-10 at the TCU 20-yard line, the setback proved too much for the Cardinal (2-4) to overcome. Pritchard scrambled for a ten-yard gain the next play, but his fourth down pass to senior receiver Mark Bradford was batted away.

TCU then ate up the clock and intentionally took a safety, bringing the score to 38-36 with two seconds remaining. The clock wound down on the Cardinal’s ensuing kick return.

“I believe that there were plenty of opportunities for us to win this football game, that’s the tough thing,” Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. “But I’m proud of the way our guys played, I really am. Our guys played with tremendous courage, and effort on both sides of the ball. It was a heck of a football game.”

The Cardinal had several players rack up big numbers, highlighted by junior running back Anthony Kimble who rushed for two touchdowns and 109 yards on 19 carries. Pritchard went 12-for-27 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore wide receiver Richard Sherman connected with Pritchard for four catches, notching 112 yards and a touchdown.

Against TCU, Stanford’s defense managed just two sacks and a single fumble recovery. Perhaps more significantly, the Cardinal failed to stop the Horned Frogs when it mattered, allowing 21 points on their opponent’s final five drives.

“Our coaches put together a really good scheme to stop them, and we just didn’t execute it,” sophomore safety Bo McNally said. “If we had done that, we would have stopped them.”

TCU burned Stanford with the pass, as redshirt freshman quarterback Andy Dalton went 23-for-34 for two touchdowns and 344 yards. TCU freshman wide receiver Jimmy Young proved to be an exceptional deep threat, catching three passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. The Frogs put up respectable ground totals as well, with TCU running backs combining for 150 yards.

“They played well, but I believe we stopped ourselves on defense,” sophomore linebacker Clinton Snyder said. “Missed tackles, missed assignments, we weren’t getting lined up right. Just missed opportunities. We got a couple of facemask penalties which didn’t help us there, but we’ve just got to be fundamentally sound on defense and we just didn’t get it done today.