September 29, 2006

Stanford looks to bounce back against Bruins

Stanford @ UCLA
Rose Bowl
Saturday, 7:15 PM
Fox Sports Net

The Cardinal look to bounce back after another blowout loss, this time at the hands of the Cougars from Washington State, 36-10. In that game, Stanford was pretty much dominated in every possible aspect, including suffering through a blocked punt, a safety, an interception returned for a touchdown, seven sacks and only 28 net rushing yards.

Of course, expecting the Cardinal to turn it all around this week may be asking too much, but at this point the coaches are simply looking for a more fundamentally sound football game than the one they witnessed last Saturday. The Cardinal dropped to 0-4 overall this season and 0-2 within the league.

The opponent this weekend is UCLA, which is coming off its first loss of the season, a 29-19 defeat at the hands of an opportunistic Washington team up in Seattle. The Bruins appear to have a pretty stout defense but a shaky sophomore quarterback in 23 year old Ben Olson.

UCLA looked to have the game in hand last weekend, jumping out to a 16-0 lead over the Huskies before conservative play calling and poor execution by Olson ultimately led to their demise. UCLA is 0-1 in Pac-10 play thus far this year and 2-1 overall.

Stanford has had trouble running the football this year, in spite of flashes from freshman Toby Gerhart, while the Bruins are 2nd in the conference right now, allowing only 71 yards a game on the ground. While Walt Harris will undoubtedly try to establish the run, the Cardinal will have to be able to show proficiency in the passing game in order to stay in this game.

UCLA's pass defense, while fourth in the conference in yards allowed, is something of a soft spot on their team as the left cornerback spot appears to be wide open following a poor performance by last week's starter Rodney Van.

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