STANFORD — DJ Williams scored a go-ahead touchdown from two-yards out midway through the fourth quarter to finish off a nine-play drive as Arizona beat Stanford 21-20 on Saturday to open Pac-12 Conference play with a road win.
The Wildcats closed out the win with backup quarterback Noah Fifita under center, after starter Jayden de Laura left the game early in the fourth quarter with an apparent leg injury.
Stanford — coming off a loss to FCS-member Sacramento State in last week’s home opener — also entered the game on a five-game conference losing streak, but had won the previous six contests against Arizona. The Wildcats had not won at Stanford since 2006.
The Cardinal entered the fourth quarter with a 17-14 lead after a Sedrick Irvin 1-yard touchdown run late in the third. But down by a point after Arizona’s touchdown, Stanford could not get a stop as the Wildcats ran out the clock.
Arizona (3-1) took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter on Tanner McLachlan’s longest career reception. McLachlan’s 36-yard catch-and-run touchdown came after de Laura pumped left, then right before finding the tight end wide open over the middle.
Stanford (1-3) reclaimed the lead before halftime with the help of a pass interference penalty that wiped away an Arizona interception in the end zone. Bryce Farrell ran in from two yards out to put the Cardinal in front 10-7.
De Laura was 14-for-26 for 157 yards in the air, throwing and running for a touchdown before getting hurt. He capped off an 11-play, 66-yard drive on the Wildcats’ first possession of the second half with a 7-yard touchdown run, fooling the defense on a fake handoff to reach the end zone untouched.
The Cardinal rotated between Justin Lamson and Ashton Daniels at quarterback, sometimes in the middle of drives. Stanford head coach Troy Taylor said during the week that both quarterbacks would see playing time throughout the season.
Daniels was 15-for-27 for 202 yards, while Lamson was 4-for-6 for 48 yards but ran for 57 yards.
Arizona: The Wildcats will have to prepare for a tough matchup against a ranked opponent in Washington, with de Laura’s status potentially up in the air.
Stanford: Despite the loss, the Cardinal responded well after a deflating loss in their home opener to Sacramento State and seemed to effectively split duties between their two quarterbacks.
Stanford: Hosts Oregon on Saturday.
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