Stanford’s hopes of a perfect season went down the drain with last week’s upset loss to Utah, but the Cardinal won’t get a break this week as No. 13 UCLA comes to the Farm.
Cardinal coach David Shaw doesn’t want the Utah loss — one that snapped the program’s 13-game winning streak — to be viewed as a season-changing defeat with the Bruins coming to town.
“We’re still in a battle for our to try to get to the conference championship game,” Shaw said.
Stanford (5-1) defeated UCLA (5-0) twice last season in a seven-day span — winning 35-17 at the Rose Bowl in the regular season before posting a 27-24 home win in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
UCLA coach Jim Mora does not want his team to think at all about those games heading into Saturday’s game.
“I hope that, I think somewhere deep down in their psyche is payback, payback, payback,” Mora said. “But if you make that your main motivation, I think you make a mistake.”
The loss to Utah marked the initial defeat in 11 career starts for quarterback Kevin Hogan, who has passed for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Hogan and the Stanford offense will be tested this week against UCLA, which has been a success to this point defensively despite rotating three freshmen (Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenny Clark and Kylie Fitts) in the defensive line.
Stanford’s physical offensive line and double tight-end sets will be a challenge for the Bruins. Mora said he wants to substitute the linemen keeping them to no more than 50 snaps per game to keep them fresh.
“There’s no little Johnnies on any offensive lines that we play,” Mora said. “Certainly not this week.”