How do the Bruins bounce back to play a team that just beat them 35-17? Jim Mora credits youth and short memories.
“The two games we’ve lost this year, we’ve been able to come back and get a good win,” Mora said today. “Not necessarily an easy win, but a good win. I think that’s given them confidence going forward. I don’t think It’ll be an issue. I think they’ll be amped up and ready to go.”
That assertion reinforces the mood many players have given throughout the week. Tight end Joseph Fauria seemed locked in in the postgame press conference on Saturday; when one reporter was halfway through a question about the Pac-12 Championship, Fauria cut in: “We earned it.”
This is a team that, by all appearances, believes in itself wholeheartedly. Stanford coach David Shaw said in a teleconference Monday that one of his biggest concerns is fighting off any complacency. Conversely, UCLA’s biggest task was to knock away self doubt. Just the simple lack of an asterisk on their Pac-12 South title should help ensure that the Bruins aren’t about to roll over at Stanford Stadium on Friday.
“Last year, it was hard to get hyped for that game because we knew we didn’t really earn it,” said UCLA receiver Shaq Evans. “SC beat us pretty bad the week before. They were the true Pac-12 South champions.”
“We earned this one,” said defensive end Datone Jones. “That’s the big difference. Football’s football and we’re ready to go.”