Stanford has played the role of spoiler several times throughout the Pac-12 this year, and can make UCLA their latest victim Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have already locked up a spot in the Pac-12 title game, but would like to continue their winning ways.
The 9-2 Cardinal put USC’s season in a tailspin back in September, and ruined Oregon’s national title hopes last week with a 17-14 overtime win. That’s not counting their 20-13 overtime loss to now-No.1 Notre Dame.
No. 9 Stanford’s defense found ways to hold the high-octane Ducks to their lowest scoring mark of the year and snapped their 13-game win streak, allowing top rusher Kenjon Barner to gain just 66 yards, and overcame three turnovers.
Running back Stepfan Taylor gained 161 yards on 31 carries, and redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan rushed and threw for a score, totaling 207 passing yards.
Cardinal receiver Zach Ertz caught the game tying touchdown from Hogan with 1:35 left in the game, and kicker Jordan Williamson knocked in a 37-yard field in overtime for the win.
Stanford can now clinch the Pac-12 North title, and can force another matchup with the Bruins in the Pac-12 championship game with a victory Saturday.
UCLA won the battle for Los Angeles and the Pac-12 South title last week with a convincing 38-28 victory over USC.
The Bruins used a balanced attack and forced three turnovers to hand the Trojans their fourth loss of the season. Running back Johnathan Franklin gained 171 yards and scored twice, while quarterback Brett Hundley went 22-for-30 for 234 yards and a touchdown.
UCLA raced out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter, and survived a surge by the Trojans, who cut the lead to 31-28 after Marqise Lee caught a 14-yard touchdown with 7:22 remaining.
Franklin responded with his final touchdown run for 29 yards and the Bruins snapped a five-game losing streak to USC.
Stanford’s tenth ranked defense will have its hands full with Franklin, who has 1,441 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, with 550 of those yards coming against ranked opponents.
The contest begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast by FOX.
Betting Odds: Stanford is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 51 points
Prediction: UCLA has already wrapped up a trip to the Pac-12 title game, giving Stanford much more to play for. This will be a grinding game with Taylor and Franklin leading the offense for both teams. Whoever wins the turnover battle should also claim the victory. Look for Stanford to squeeze out the win.
Predicted Score: Stanford 30, UCLA 24