We have a good late night matchup on the west coast to wrap up the day. The UCLA Bruins will make the short trip to Palo Alto for a meeting with the Stanford Cardinal. Both teams want to put last week in the past, as they lost as favorites against Memphis and San Diego State. It was tough for UCLA traveling out east for an early start. The offense woke up that morning, but the defense was still in bed.
Like has been the case this season, Josh Rosen had to do it all himself without any help from his friends on the defensive side. High scoring games have been the theme of the year for UCLA, including that game they had to stage the biggest comeback in college football history against Texas A&M. The A&M offense has looked relatively flat other than vs UCLA, so it is really a bad look.
UCLA contained Hawaii for a 56-23 win, but that’s Hawaii. The Bruins are going to get a heavy dose of the run in this game, it’s no secret. Bryce Love will be an active player in this contest and UCLA better be ready for it. The offense looked not so good against San Diego State. Keller Chryst played like it was going to be a cakewalk against the Aztecs, but they were ultimately upset, 20-17. Stanford and Chryst had one last ditch effort to get into field goal with a minute left. Chryst threw up a bad 50-50 ball that was picked off by San Diego State to clinch the win.
No doubt, Stanford was still reeling from the previous week. They looked like they still had USC on their minds, after getting belted by the Trojans in Week 2. Was it just a hangover? Or is Stanford just not a very good team? The Cardinal are 1-2, losses against Stanford and San Diego State, with a 62-7 win over Rice.
So, yeah, I’d say that there are still a lot of question marks with this Stanford team. Once USC figured them out, Stanford had trouble moving the ball. The Aztecs had them pegged from the 1st quarter. We’ll see if the UCLA defense performs better at home after watching Riley Ferguson torch them. Head below for our free UCLA vs. Stanford pick.
UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal Betting Odds:
vs. Stanford -7(-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
UCLA vs. Stanford Pick:
Josh Rosen has gotten his Heisman tour off to a nice start, but I believe he needs a little help from his defense. I don’t think they can justify giving the Heisman to a 6-win team. If the defense keeps playing like this, there isn’t much of a chance UCLA has to finish with 8 wins. Rosen has already passed for 13 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 1,283 yards for a 65 percent pass completion. Without Rosen, UCLA does not come all the way back against A&M. Rosen does have some characteristics to his game that remind you of Aaron Rodgers.
He is terrific rolling out, and can throw an accurate ball regardless if he’s in the pocket or rolling out. Rosen has a quick release and strong arm, there aren’t too many knacks on his game, other than improving decision making sometimes. He has a long way to go before we can say he’s the next Aaron Rodgers, though. It would be interesting to see Rosen play on a team with an elite running game and defense. Stanford is 86th in the country, allowing 406 yards per game.
The closest offense Stanford has faced this season to UCLA is USC. Rosen’s rival, Sam Darnold, looked good completing 21-of-26 balls and 316 yards with 4 touchdowns. The Trojans have the better running game, though, so we’ll see how it plays out. However, UCLA running back Darrell Henderson can be dangerous, running and catching out of the backfield.
He’s ran for 482 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 237 receiving yards and another 3 touchdowns receiving. Stanford will get their yards on the ground in this game, but after getting embarrassed against Memphis, are we going to get a better effort? I think so, at least enough for Rosen to keep this game close. This should be an entertaining game to conclude the day. Stanford has beaten UCLA nine straight times. The last time UCLA beat Stanford was in 2008, Kevin Craft was the starting quarterback. I expect the final score to fall within 7 points though, so taking the points for our UCLA vs. Stanford pick looks good. I can see a Stanford win and UCLA cover.
PICK: UCLA +7 (-105)