Josh Rosen will have to be nearly perfect for Bruins against Stanford
UCLA (2-1, 0-0) at Stanford (1-2, 0-1)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Stanford Stadium, TV: ESPN. Radio: 570.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen vs. the Stanford secondary. The Bruins probably won’t be able to produce the kind of clock-burning run game that helped USC and San Diego State engineer victories over the Cardinal, putting the burden on Rosen to be almost perfect. That means no throwing across his body or forcing passes into coverage, which were issues toward the end of UCLA’s loss to Memphis. But it’s hard to find much fault with someone who has logged 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions in three games.
UCLA (564 ypg/48.7 ppg): The Bruins hope the strides they’ve made in the run game continue after going from 63 yards against Texas A&M to 132 yards against Hawaii to 170 yards against Memphis. A capable run game would make an offense that ranks seventh nationally in yards per game and eighth in scoring — thanks largely to Rosen — all the more dynamic.
Stanford (412 ypg/34.3 ppg): All you need is Love? It certainly seems that way for the Cardinal offense, which has relied heavily on tailback Bryce Love amid inconsistency from quarterback Keller Chryst. Last week against San Diego State, Chryst had two interceptions and lost a fumble while completing only eight of 19 passes. Meanwhile, Love has averaged 174.7 yards rushing per game.
UCLA (515.3 ypg/38.3 ppg): The struggles have been almost universal for the Bruins’ defense, which ranks No. 121 in scoring defense and No. 122 in yards alloweda. UCLA has also generated only three sacks over its last two games.
Stanford (407.3 ypg/23 ppg): The Cardinal were weak against the run during losses to USC and San Diego State, though much of that was attributable to the powerful tailbacks they faced. Stanford gave up a combined 478 yards on the ground in those two games.
UCLA hasn’t had much of a return game, losing an average of half a yard on its two punt returns while averaging 19.7 yards on kickoff returns. … Stanford’s Jet Toner has made all four of his field goal attempts and Jake Bailey is averaging 45.1 yards a punt.
UCLA linebacker Krys Barnes leads the team with 18 tackles — all over the last two games — after having three in his career previously. … Chryst is last among Pac-12 Conference quarterbacks in pass efficiency, having completed 52.8% of his passes for 497 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Among Stanford’s regular contributors are five players with Southern California roots. Offensive lineman David Bright is from Yorba Linda, receiver Trent Irwin is from Valencia, fullback Daniel Marx is from Trabuco Canyon, linebacker Bobby Okereke is from Santa Ana and tight end Colby Parkinson is from Simi Valley.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch
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