No. 15 Stanford looks for 8th straight win vs No. 18 UCLA
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) For all of UCLA’s success under coach Jim Mora, there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to change: Stanford’s dominance in this California rivalry.
With seven straight wins, including in the 2012 Pac-12 title game and a late-season game last year that cost the Bruins a shot at the South division title, Stanford has had UCLA’s number since shortly after Jim Harbaugh revived the program.
Not that that matters to either team heading into Thursday night’s game between No. 18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1) and No. 15 Stanford (4-1, 3-0).
”We’re 0-0 against them this year,” Cardinal defensive back Kodi Whitfield said.
Mora, who has lost all four meetings against the Cardinal since taking over at UCLA, sees no need address the recent struggles with his players, most of whom have only been part of one or two of the losses anyway.
”Every year is a different deal,” he said. ”If you dwell on the past, whether it’s positive past or not-so-positive past, it’s the wrong thing to do. I think you have to approach every game and every team every year as a different entity and that’s what we try to do.”
The games haven’t even been close for the most part with the Cardinal outscoring the Bruins 221-96 during the streak. Dominating the trenches has been the biggest reason for the success.
Stanford has averaged 196 yards rushing per game during the streak, while recording 24 sacks.
”They don’t hide anything. They are going to line up and run the ball on first and second down, try to get in manageable situations,” Bruins linebacker Deon Hollins said. ”They have had a lot of success with it. They are really good at what they do, so we just have to be a little bit better.”
Here are some other things to watch when UCLA visits Stanford:
SCHOOL BOY CHUMS: Whitfield and UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen have a long history together, having attended middle school together in Southern California at Chadwick School. Whitfield said it’s no surprise the success that Rosen is having his first year in college. Rosen is completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,243 yards, nine TDs and five INTs.
”He’s always been the athletic one,” Whitfield said. ”He played a ton of sports.”
SACK DANCE: UCLA has done a great job protecting Rosen so far this season, allowing just four sacks on 168 pass attempts. Stanford has struggled to get to the quarterback with just six sacks in five games. That’s a far cry from a year ago when the Cardinal were tied for fifth in the nation with 46 sacks, including five against the Bruins.
”He does a good job of getting rid of the football,” Stanford coach David Shaw said of Rosen. ”They don’t hold the ball long. The best way to get a sack is great coverage.”
MISSING LINEBACKERS: Both teams will be missing key linebackers who are sidelined with injuries. UCLA’s Myles Jack is done for the year with a knee injury, while Stanford’s Kevin Anderson will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury. UCLA will also be without defensive back Mossi Johnson, who tore knee ligaments in practice last week and is also done for the season. UCLA is missing four defenders with cornerback Fabian Moreau and defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (knee) also out. Shaw said even though Jack’s absence hurts UCLA, Hollins has been impressive in his place.
”You watch film and see No. 58 flash through and he’s explosive,” Shaw said. ”They have other guys who have stepped up. They recruit well.”
NIGHT WARRIORS: Stanford has won 24 straight home night games, the longest active streak in the FBS. Since 2010, the Cardinal are also 41-5 in games played in California and 20-2 over that stretch against fellow California schools.