If the UCLA Football team wants to beat Stanford for the first time in nine tries, then they need to keep their offense on the field and Stanford’s off.
The UCLA Football team made changes to the offense in the off-season to better match up against teams like Stanford. So far, at least in the first three games, it has worked.
UCLA is 2-1 (and was a touchdown away from going 3-0) after non-conference play. Though they have had a tough time staying consistent, there are some things that are working for them on offense.
As I pointed out in my article, Improvements With Time of Possession, UCLA has done an otherworldly job at controlling the ball this year. In the last two games of 2015, UCLA had the ball about half as long as their opponents. This kept the Bruin defense on the field that much longer.
In UCLA’s first three games of 2016, the Bruins have had clear control of the clock: UCLA 33:18 – Texas A&M 26:42, UCLA 33:38 – UNLV 26:22, UCLA 32:02 – BYU 27:58.
In an effort to try an beat Stanford, the Bruins need to continue this dynamic and keep Stanford and their Heisman candidate Christian McCaffery off the field if they want to win. Why is that? In the last three years, the Cardinal have been on the field almost twice as long as the Bruins.
Allowing Stanford to be on the field that long gave them a 14 and two 21-point victories in their last three meetings. With UCLA playing uptempo (or going three and out), it was a nightmare scenario for the Bruin defense. As brutal as Stanford plays, they beat down and gassed the Bruins.
The move to a more power-structured offense for UCLA was to help combat this. It is working so far this season, but today will be the first true test against a team they made these specific changes for.