That game’s fresh in our minds, too. Here are some stats about the Cardinal that are worth remembering:
The average rushing yards per attempt that Stanford’s defense allows. If there’s one thing this Cardinal squad is unmatched in, it’s the run defense. That was a staple of the Stanford defense in 2012 too (with that team allowing 3.0 yards per attempt) but Johnathan Franklin torched that unit to the tune of 194 yards off of just 19 carries. This year, the Bruins don’t have Franklin but the offensive line is much-improved while the Cardinal defense looks significantly weaker than it did this time last year. UCLA earns 223.4 yards rushing per game, which puts them at 19th in the country.
The number of passing yards Stanford allows per game. For all the praise that is heaped upon the Cardinal defense, the Fightin’ Shaws rank 88th in the country in pass defense, yards-wise. You can thank spread-style concepts for that, as Washington and Utah obliterated Stanford’s defense with swing passes, something UCLA utilizes much more effectively than either the Huskies or Utes. (The Bruins rank higher than both teams in passing yards per game, too, with UCLA checking in with 324 passing yards per game, good for 17th in the nation.)
The number of rushing yards Stanford accumulates on offense, good for 32nd in the country. The Cardinal’s bread and butter is the run game, and because the passing game is one of the most underwhelming in the nation, this is a good thing for the Cardinal. Unfortunately for Stanford, UCLA is ranked 35 in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game and an even better 3.4 in rushing yards per attempt, where they place 23rd.
The number of plays per game that Stanford runs. That’s markedly slower than all but just a few Pac-12 teams run, with USC and Oregon State being the teams that come to mind (along with Utah, but only sometimes). Conversely, Stanford opponents run an average of 76.2 plays per game, and given that the Cardinal defense has regressed significantly this year, perhaps the Cardinal won’t fare so well against another uptempo offense in UCLA’s.
The number of penalties Stanford commits per game. Though this isn’t top-25-in-the-nation worthy, it’s fair to note that this is around half the penalties UCLA commits per contest (10.2 for the Bruins this year, worst in the nation). In a game in which both teams are top-15, things like penalties could damn a team.