Bruins strive to keep pace with Cardinal
Christian McCaffrey and Stanford ran roughshod over UCLA in last season’s meeting between the two Pac-12 adversaries. Will tonight’s battle in Pasadena feature more of the same?
The Bruins host the seventh-ranked Cardinal at the Rose Bowl at 8 p.m. ET. According to oddsmakers at online sports book BetDSI, David Shaw’s group walks into the historic venue as a 3-point favorite. The over/under is 46.
With Heisman hopeful McCaffrey leading the way, Stanford demolished Jim Mora’s squad 11 months ago. UCLA surrendered 311 yards on the ground on that occasion, falling 56-35. The run defense wasn’t much better at the start of this year, either, getting gouged by Texas A&M and UNLV before stiffening against BYU. Eddie Vanderdoes’ presence along the interior should go a long way toward helping this unit improve in the weeks to come.
Tonight’s biggest key for the Bruins, though, consist of controlling the clock. Josh Rosen and the pro-style offense he conducts must sustain drives and keep the Cardinal off the field for as long as possible. One problem: UCLA’s converted just 29 percent of its third downs over the past three clashes with Stanford.
Obviously, the Cardinal’s physical defensive backs play a prominent role in short-circuiting opponents’ offensive aspirations. Look for an intriguing chess match that skews to the low-scoring side this evening. In the end, we can’t imagine Stanford not retaining the upper hand in the series.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: STANFORD/UCLA UNDER 46 POINTS