Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ conference opener: Stanford.
UCLA vs. Stanford
Saturday, Sept. 24 | Rose Bowl
2015 in review
Stanford capped off the 2015 season with another Pac-12 championship and a Rose-Bowl rout demolition of Iowa. Business as usual for the Cardinal in recent years. Stanford ran all over UCLA on Oct. 15 in a 56-35 victory at Stanford Stadium that still stings for UCLA players. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 243 yards as UCLA gained only 181 total yards on the ground as a team. Josh Rosen was sacked three times and threw two interceptions as Stanford led 56-20 after the third quarter.
— The bully on the block Yet again, Jim Mora will try for his first win against Stanford during his UCLA tenure. The head coach is
0-4 0-5 against the Cardinal as the Bruins have a eight-game losing streak overall. UCLA has lofty aspirations, both inside and outside of the conference. To get there, the Bruins have to get past Stanford.
— The big test When reflecting on their inability to stop the run last year, UCLA players consistently listed the loss to Stanford as the one that torments them most. So when the two teams meet this year, it’ll be a chance for the defense to show the #StopTheRun2k16 campaign more than just a fun social media hashtag. The Cardinal racked up 310 rushing yards against the Bruins last year. The change to a 4-3 front was to compete better against teams like Stanford. We’ll find out if the fuss was worth it on Sept. 24.
— The media favorites Despite significant turnover on both sides of the ball, Stanford was picked to win the conference by the media. The Cardinal need a new quarterback and three new starting linemen on offense alone. When asked about being the favorites to win the conference, Stanford head coach David Shaw downplayed it, jokingly saying it only shows that reporters have no idea what they’re doing.
Stanford players to watch
— RB Christian McCaffrey You couldn’t not watch him if you tried.
— DL Solomon Thomas Only an honorable mention All-Pac-12 last year, Thomas is poised for a rise to Stanford stardom this year. He had 10.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore and earned All-Pac-12 preseason first team honors from Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
— WR Michael Rector Last year, Rector led Stanford receivers in receiving yards (559) and led the team in receiving touchdowns (seven). He’ll be adjusting to a new quarterback as Keller Chryst and Ryan Burns are battling for Kevin Hogan’s vacant starting spot.
Stanford in GIF form
2016 UCLA schedule
Sat., Sept. 3: UCLA at Texas A&M — 12:30 p.m., CBS
Sat., Sept. 10: UNLV at UCLA — 5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Sat., Sept. 17: UCLA at BYU — 7:15 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2
Sat., Sept. 24: Stanford at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 1: Arizona at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 8: UCLA at Arizona State
Sat., Oct. 15: UCLA at Washington State
Sat., Oct 22: Utah at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 28: BYE
Thurs., Nov. 3: UCLA at Colorado — 6 p.m., FOX Sports 1
Sat., Nov. 12: Oregon State at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 19: USC at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 26: UCLA at California
Home games in bold, all times in Pacific Time