UCLA Football vs Stanford 2017: 3 keys to victory


UCLA Football begin Pac-12 play with a trip to Stanford. Here is what the Bruins need to focus on to win the game and end the nine game losing streak to the Cardinal.

Death, taxes, UCLA Football losing to Stanford. It has been nine straight losses and they have all been painful. Last season, the streak was almost broken but then… well, let’s not do this to ourselves.

This is a new year and UCLA Football comes into this one with a 2-1 record, an explosive offense and a whole host of questions on defense. Memphis was a gut check game for UCLA. The Tigers boasted a powerful attack led by a dangerous quarterback-wide receiver tandem and UCLA’s defensive depth was decimated by injuries. I wondered whether UCLA could overcome that and pull out the victory.

The short answer was: no. The long answer? It wasn’t all bad. It was just horrid on defense. UCLA found a way to lose a game after putting up 45 points and 633 yards on offense. In other words, the offense is not the problem.

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And now, it’s Stanford week and here comes Bryce Love.

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Here’s how UCLA can end the streak with our 3 keys to victory:

1. Contain the run

At this point, UCLA has not shown the ability to stop the run. It is not going to happen this week either. The power run game is Stanford’s identity and after two straight losses, the Cardinal will lean on it even more. The Bruins must keep it contained. “Contained” in this case is graded on a curve. I define contain as keeping Love under 200 yards. Getting Kenny Young and Jaleel Wadood will help a lot.

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2. Dominate on offense

Josh Rosen, Darren Andrews and Caleb Wilson have been dominant. Jordan Lasley and Theo Howard have flashed in spots. Finally, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been terrific. UCLA Football is going to need all of them to be elite on Saturday. It’s one thing to put up gaudy numbers against Texas A&M, Hawaii and Memphis, it’s quite another to do the same against Stanford.

Finish strong

UCLA Football has been close to beating Stanford a couple of times under Jim Mora. Those bids all fizzled out in the 4th quarter. But I promised not to revisit those dark days. I just bring them up to mention that the Bruins have to play a complete game. Two or three quarters of effort will simply not be enough.

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The Bruins take on the Cardinal Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT at Stanford Stadium on