Up 17-10 in the fourth quarter, the Cardinal got the cushion they needed when safety Ed Reynolds stepped in front of a Jeff Tuel pass and returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown and a 24-10 lead.
Washington State staged a comeback, however, first when Tuel capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kristoff Williams. The Cougars got the ball one final time, and drove all the way to the Stanford 9-yard line with under a minute to play.
The game-tying drive ended when Tuel was forced into an intentional grounding (which comes with a ten-second runoff), then sacked. Washington State had no timeouts, and time expired.
The defensive score was huge for Stanford and its struggling offense. Washington State outgained the Cardinal, 385-256.
Box Score Hero: Wide receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson, Stanford. Patterson caught only one pass for the Cardinal, but it was for a 70-yard touchdown. The big play helped the limping Stanford offense do just enough for the win.
Rankings Ramifications: While the win was underwhelming, three teams directly ahead of Stanford lost, so the Cardinal may move up a slot or two anyway.
But Did They Cover? Stanford was a 25-point favorite, and did not cover.
Next Week's Schedule: Stanford hits the road to play Colorado, while Washington State travels to Utah.
This story was originally published on SB Nation.com.