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Pac-12 Game Preview: UCLA vs. Stanford

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The Stanford Cardinal have gotten the best of the UCLA Bruins in the teams’ last five meetings, but today’s showdown between the schools could see the tide turn, as UCLA enters Palo Alto as the hotter squad.

The defending Pac-12 champion Cardinal are coming off their first loss of the season – a defeat to Utah that snapped a 13-game win streak dating back to last year – but their 12-game home win streak is still very much intact and they’d like to keep it that way.

Meanwhile, UCLA has put together a nice streak of their own – a five-gamer in which they’ve outscored opponents by an average of more than 30 points per game. With sophomore standout Brett Hundley leading the way at quarterback, the Bruins come into today’s contest ranked fifth in the nation in total yards (547 per game) and seventh in points scored (45.8 per game).

Slowing down UCLA’s offensive attack and its momentum certainly won’t be easy for the Cardinal, especially considering they’ll be missing senior defensive end Henry Anderson, who is out with a knee injury. But even with Anderson, the Cardinal – long regarded for having the best defense in the conference – have struggled in limited opponents, as they’ve allowed more than 400 yards of total offense in consecutive games for the first time since 2011.

Cal was able to hold UCLA to fewer than 80 rushing yards a week ago, but the Bears paid a hefty price for loading the box, as they allowed Hundley to throw for over 400 yards in the 37-10 Bruins victory. Considering UCLA has shown the ability to appropriately adjust its gameplan, the Cardinal may just have to pick their poison.

Stanford hasn’t dropped back-to-back games since 2009, but today could signal the end of yet another impressive Cardinal streak. The Bruins appear to have the weapons, the learned experience and the necessary chip on their shoulder to avenge both of last year’s defeats to Stanford. So, even though the Cardinal are back home this week, look for ninth-ranked UCLA to cover +6 today as it sends 13-ranked Stanford to another Pac-12 loss.

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