The UCLA Bruins come into this game as the kings of Los Angeles after defeating the USC Trojans last week. That win guaranteed them a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford, Oregon, or Oregon State.
The Bruins were a mediocre 6-6 last year but have turned the tables this season. They key reason for this is the emergence of Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Brett Hundley, and the high-powered UCLA offense. Hundley has been stellar all season long with 25 Touchdowns and a completion percentage of 69.4% He has done everything Coach Mora has asked him to do and could very well lead UCLA back to the promised land.
The star of the UCLA offense however, is runningback Johnathan Franklin. Franklin, the senior from Los Angeles, has been one of the better backs in the country. He is 6th in the nation and 2nd in the Pac-12 in rushing yards with 1441.
This duo of a good passing and rushing game has been giving headaches to opposing defenses all season. The reason why UCLA has two losses though, is because they aren’t necessarily too good on the other side of the ball.
Quite frankly, the UCLA defense is a mediocre bunch. They have played some good games, but they are very inconsistent. Nobody knows whether the good defense or the bad defense will show up any given week.
Stanford heads into this conference matchup as the 8th ranked team in the nation. Their confidence was boosted significantly after their dominant performance against the Oregon Ducks; who were previously ranked No.2 in the nation. In that game, Stanford’s tough defense held the best offense in the nation to a season-low 14 points.
This phenomenal defense is anchored by an experienced group of Linebackers, featuring Shane Skov, Chase Thomas, and Ben Gardner. They are by far, the best defense in the Pac-12 and arguably the best in the country. If Stanford is going to win, this is the unit that will lead them to victory.
The Stanford offense has vastly improved after a midseason Quarterback change to Freshman Kevin Hogan. Hogan’s mobility has given Stanford a new dimension that it sorely lacked under previous Quarterback Josh Nunes. Hogan has extended numerous plays this year with his feet, and as a result great things have happened.
The key to the Stanford offense however, is its running game. Featuring Senior Runningback Stepfan Taylor, Stanford uses a power run game to tire out opposing defenses. This opens up the passing game and creates numerous opportunities for Stanford’s two star tight ends, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo.
This game should be a fight to the finish. Stanford will however pull away with the victory and here’s why:
The Cardinal defense completely shut down the best offense in the country. The Oregon Ducks hadn’t been held to less than 20 points by anybody this season prior to facing Stanford. The UCLA offense although very good, is still a notch below that of Oregon. If Stanford could play that well versus Oregon, holding the UCLA offense shouldn’t be too much to ask.
In addition, the fact that Stanford also can control the game on offense leads me to think that Stanford will come home from the Rose Bowl with a 23-13 win.
Where To Watch Online Live Stream: Stanford at UCLA