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at Stanford 45 … UCLA 19

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2011


Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - UCLA at Stanford


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - UCLA at Stanford

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Oct. 1 at Stanford 45 … UCLA 19
CFN Analysis: Stanford is a machine. Andrew Luck was nearly perfect against a good UCLA defense completing 23-of-27 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns, while Stepfan Taylor ran well pounding for 6.6 yards per carry running for 112 yards and two scores. The only was the Cardinal was going to blow this was with a slew of mistakes, but there weren’t any turnovers and the seven penalties weren’t a killer. Ball control was at a premium against a Bruin team that doesn’t have much offensive pop, and Luck came through helping to convert 10-of-14 third down chances. Stanford is flawless so far, but it’s untested. In three weeks is the Washington game, and there shouldn’t be any problems with Colorado or Washington State over the next two weeks.

UCLA doesn’t have the offense to keep up with a team like Stanford, and if the running game isn’t controlling the clock and the tempo, forget about it. Richard Brehaut had a nice game as the full time starter throwing for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnathan Franklin averaged eight yards per carry, but the offense didn’t get the ball enough. The defense couldn’t get off the field as Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense converted third down play after third down play. Beating Washington State next week is a must to have any hope of going to a bowl, but the pass rush has to finally show up and the special teams need to be better.

(AP) STANFORD, Calif. -- Andrew Luck sprinted down the right sideline, reached out with his right hand and tiptoed the sideline with his left foot to complete an acrobatic one-handed catch before tumbling to the ground.

Not exactly the Heisman Trophy pose.

Maybe better.

Luck threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns and padded his Heisman resume with the spectacular one-handed catch, keeping sixth-ranked Stanford perfect with a 45-19 victory over UCLA on Saturday night.

"There's about five positions the guy can play," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We kind of like what he does at quarterback."

Luck completed 23 of 27 passes and had the Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) in cruise control to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games. Shaw even allowed Luck to go up to the line of scrimmage in a hurry-up offense at one point and call his own plays.

No script. No questions. Just Luck.

"He called better plays than me," Shaw said.

Stepfan Taylor ran for 112 yards and two scores and Coby Fleener caught two touchdown passes in front of a rare sellout crowd of 50,360 at Stanford Stadium.

Richard Brehaut threw for 202 yards and had two touchdown passes to Joseph Fauria for the Bruins (2-2, 1-1), who had a better showing than a 35-0 loss to Stanford at the Rose Bowl last season but still exposed the gap between the California schools.

"We're going to look at film and kick ourselves on so many things we left out there against a very good defense," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.

The Bruins' Pistol offense flexed its muscles marching down to the goal line on the game's opening drive. But the strong start hit a a wall when David Parry stuffed Brehaut on a quarterback sneak just inches from the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, leaving Luck the length of the field on his first drive.

No problem.

The strong-armed and quick-footed quarterback added another highlight for Heisman voters to consider this season.

Luck handed the ball off to Tyler Gaffney and sprinted out to the right side between the cornerbacks and safeties. Gaffney ran left and flipped the ball to Drew Terrell on a reverse, and the receiver threw to Luck along the far sideline.

Luck made a one-handed catch and tiptoed the sideline with his left foot for a 13-yard reception that officials initially ruled incomplete. After a review, Luck had only the second reception of his career and first since a loss at Arizona on Oct. 17, 2009.

"I'm sure it was incomplete at the next level," said Luck, the projected No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft. "Glad we're playing with the one-foot in rule."

The one-handed catch might not have even been the most impressive on the drive.

Coby Fleener snatched a one-handed, 18-yard touchdown pass from Luck to put the Cardinal ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter. That capped a 16-play, 99-yard drive that spanned more than 8 minutes and actually gained 119 total yards because of penalties.

"I knew I had to one-up him," Fleener joked.

Every time the Bruins started to threaten, they imploded with mistakes.

Chase Thomas jarred the ball loose from Brehaut on UCLA's next possession. After a 15-yard personal foul penalty, Stanford only had to go 28 yards for another score, ending with Taylor's 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.

The Bruins finally found their rhythm just before halftime. Brehaut showed poise in the pocket and connected with Fauria on a 12-yard TD catch with 8 seconds remaining to trim Stanford's lead to 17-7.

Any hope UCLA had for a second-half comeback ended in a hurry.

Taylor Embree fumbled a punt return late in the third quarter when Ty Montgomery popped the ball loose and recovered it. The Cardinal took over and punched it in the end zone again on Gaffney's 16-yard run out of a wildcat formation to go ahead 31-13.

The Bruins defense also picked the worst week of the season to be short-handed. Starting cornerback Sheldon Price and backup safeties Dalton Hilliard and Alex Mascarenas were held out with injuries.

The Cardinal had a key member sidelined, too.

Stanford linebackers spread eye black liberally across their faces to honor the signature look by leading tackler Shayne Skov, who's out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the previous game at Arizona. Jarek Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley split time in Skov's place.

Not that the injuries would have likely changed the outcome.

"Yeah," Brehaut said, "that's the best team we've played as far as physicality and getting after us."

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UCLA (2-2) at Stanford (3-0) Oct. 1, 10:30, FSN

Here’s The Deal … No. 6 Stanford didn’t play a down last weekend, yet still got bad news when it learned that rock-solid LB Shayne Skov would be lost for the season to a knee injury. It was the first thing that’d gone wrong for a Cardinal team swept its three September games by no fewer than 27 points. While Skov will be sorely missed, the program could go weeks before it faces a ranked opponent, and feels it has the needed time to make the necessary adjustments in the lineup.

At least for the time being, UCLA stopped the bleeding with a much-needed win over Oregon State on the road. While no one, especially embattled head coach Rick Neuheisel, is breathing a sigh of relief, the Bruins can rest a tad easier now that they’ve won a league game and climbed back to break-even. Although a victory on the Farm may be a reach, UCLA still needs to use this trip to continue honing all phases of its game.

Why UCLA Might Win: In order to keep this game competitive for all four quarters, the Bruins will need to establish the running game, and exploit the hole in the middle of the Stanford D. UCLA is at its best when it’s controlling the clock and working between the tackles with backs Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman. The pair has combined for 602 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while averaging around six yards a carry. When they’re on, it serves two key purposes; not only does a no-nonsense running attack made QB Richard Brehaut’s job a whole lot easier, but it also keeps the other guy’s offense on the sidelines for extended periods of time.

Why Stanford Might Win: The Bruins have not posted a sack in either of the last two games. That’s not quite the way you want to enter a date with the Cardinal and QB Andrew Luck. To the contrary, Stanford ranks No. 10 nationally in sacks allowed, a recipe for Luck to have all night to spot WR Chris Owusu or one of his gifted tight ends, Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz or Levine Toilolo. Making a tough job impossible for the Bruins will be the presence of RB Stepfan Taylor, a physical complement to the artistic throws of Luck. It’ll take more than one dimension to figure out a Cardinal D that ranks among the country’s top 10 teams in run defense, points yielded and sacks.

What To Watch Out For: The loss of Skov on the inside will mean more reps for sophomore Jarek Lancaster and redshirt freshman A.J. Tarpley, who’ll alternate in the lineup this weekend. It’ll also mean that more will be expected from senior Max Bergen, the other starter on the interior. Both of the underclassmen move well from sideline-to-sideline, but don’t have their predecessor’s size, experience or penchant for intimidation. It’ll also be worth keeping an eye on the development of can’t-miss recruit James Vaughters, who’ll continue to get reps on the inside and at defensive end.

What Will Happen: Stanford is talented, motivated and rested as it begins a streak of eight league games in eight weeks that could end with a berth in the Rose Bowl. UCLA represents a small hurdle for this group. The Cardinal will continue to impose its will on both sides of the ball, slapping the Bruins with balance on offense and pressure on defense. Once the lead reaches two touchdowns before halftime, UCLA won’t have the necessary passing game or quick-strike ability to mount much of a comeback bid.

CFN Prediction: Stanford 38 … UCLA 13
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