Five questions: Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner on Stanford

Stanford already has a conference win in the bag after a victory over USC last week while UCLA is just starting its Pac-12 slate. The Bruins are trying to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Cardinal and earn head coach Jim Mora‘s first win over Stanford in five tries. The Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner answered some questions about Stanford’s star running back, its quarterback and its defense.

1. Christian McCaffrey’s versatility makes him such a nightmare for opposing defenses. He has accounted for nearly 60 percent of Stanford’s yards from scrimmage, but how long can the Stanford offense survive on the solo McCaffrey show?

One more week, at most. Can’t image Stanford winning at Washington without McCaffrey getting help on the playmaking front. Can he beat UCLA largely by himself? That depends on the Bruins. Their front seven will challenge Stanford, but it doesn’t take much for him to find the end zone. I expect that Stanford will try to use Bryce Love’s speed in the misdirection game, attempt to stretch the field with receiver Michael Rector and look to tight end Dalton Schultz on third down. But if UCLA cannot contain – not stop, but contain – Stanford’s running game, then nothing else matters. Continue reading

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UCLA practice links: Leaving the past behind

UCLA running back Nate Starks played for the first time in three games last week against BYU. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)

UCLA running back Nate Starks played for the first time in three games last week against BYU. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)

UCLA hasn’t beaten Stanford in eight tries. UCLA head coach Jim Mora hasn’t beaten the Cardinal during his tenure.

The past against Stanford has not been friendly to the Bruins in recent years, but they’re trying not to let it affect their future on Saturday.

Other links:

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Video: Josh Rosen, Nate Starks, Rick Wade, Darren Andrews

Quarterback Josh Rosen talks about facing Stanford, why he struggled against BYU and finding rhythm with Darren Andrews.

Running back Nate Starks talks about coming back after missing two games, the potential of the entire running backs group and handling Stanford’s defense.

Defensive lineman Rick Wade talks about his first career sack, going against Stanford’s jumbo package and the progression of the defensive line.

Wide receiver Darren Andrews talks about who gets to be McCaffrey in practice and turning into a go-to guy.

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