Today, 5 p.m.
Palo Alto, Calif.
In sports, it’s rare to get a second chance.
But today, No. 16 UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) will get just that against No. 8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1).
The Bruin football team lost last week to the Cardinal in its final regular season game, but both secured spots in the Pac-12 championship game. The matchup will decide who is going to represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.
“When you lose to somebody, you always think, “˜I’m going to come out swinging even harder next time,’” said junior linebacker Jordan Zumwalt. “It gives us an extra edge.”
Based on last week’s performance, UCLA needs any extra edge it can get.
The Cardinal defense held the Bruins to only 334 total yards, which was 140 yards fewer than their usual average.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, Stanford was able to gain 221 rushing yards on the game.
Despite a poor outing last week, coach Jim Mora believes that his team will respond tonight.
“The two games that we’ve lost previously, we’ve been able to come back and get a good win,” Mora said. “I think that’s given them confidence going forward.”
With this confidence, UCLA will need to clean up its play against a physical and disciplined Stanford team.
Last week, the Bruins committed 12 penalties and confused assignments several times, which led to big plays for the Cardinal.
“They are very good at sticking to their game plan and playing their technique,” said redshirt freshman center Jake Brendel. “We watched the film and we know what we have to do to improve.”
While most pundits have predicted that the Cardinal will win and move on to the Rose Bowl, Mora and his Bruins have not lost faith in what they can do.
“I think there’s a lot of belief on this team that they’re capable of playing with anybody in the country,” Mora said.
“But it comes down to us playing to our max potential.”