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Stanford’s Love runs wild, hangs ten losses in a row on UCLA

10 thoughts on UCLA’s 10th straight loss to Stanford after a 58-34 drubbing on Saturday night.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford
Same, Keisean Lucier-South. Same.
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
  1. If a team scores 34 points on the trees, but loses by three touchdowns, did the 34 points (and the team) ever make a sound? It’s a question for UCLA to ponder as the Bruins were barreled over 58-34 by Stanford on Saturday night. It’s the 10th straight loss for UCLA against the Cardinal and the 7th by Jim Mora, and the only shocking part is that UCLA found a new and more excruciating method of loss.
  2. The two teams battled to a ugly draw early, exchanging turnovers and field goals until Josh Rosen found Darren Andrews for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to take a 13-6 lead. After a Stanford punt, UCLA drove again and dropped a touchdown on 3rd down that would have made it 19-6 against a scuffling offense on its third quarterback. The ensuing field goal try to make it 16-6 was blocked, and in the final 8 minutes of the second quarter, Stanford scored 17 points to go into halftime up 23-13. It was hard to not feel as if another loss to Stanford was an inevitability.
  3. Speaking of Rosen, he was very good again, finishing 40-60 for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which wasn’t his fault after it deflected up off a Bruin receiver and into the hands of a defender. Rosen is averaging 440 yards per game and is completing 65% of his passes. He leads the nation in yards and touchdown passes and is playing out of his mind. No matter what happens this year, you should watch Josh Rosen, because he is special.
  4. Can you imagine what Rosen and UCLA would be with a defense that was even 50% of last year’s instead of the 15% it is? He’d be in the Heisman conversation, and UCLA would be 4-0. It’s unfair what UCLA is doing to Rosen. Rosen started the game shaky, missing throws he had made in the first three games and generally looking rushed. Unfortunately, UCLA’s defense could not hold up and give him and the offense more chances to score points, and even as he got better as the game went on, the defense got worse, especially against the run.
  5. Stanford, behind third string quarterback KJ Costello and Bryce Love, ran UCLA out of the stadium in the second half. Love finished with 272 yards on 30 carries, and back up Cameron Scarlett ran for 11 yards a carry. It was utter domination, even more so than usual against Stanford given just how punchless the Cardinal looked against San Diego State and USC. But UCLA filled gaps as water fills a shattered glass, and the Cardinal ran wild. To borrow a turn of phrase from the esteemed Solid Verbal podcast, UCLA’s defense is the cure for the common offense.
  6. I have no idea how to Tom Bradley could fix the defense. UCLA actually got aggressive and blitzed more than Tom Bradley prefers on Saturday, but his team got ran into the ground harder than ever before. While it didn’t help that Adarius Pickett was ejected on a horrendous targeting call, it wouldn’t have changed much. It’s not ideal to resort to the “throw anything against the wall and see what sticks” method of game planning, but after the bye week in two weeks, why not? It’s tough to see how it can get worse.
  7. LOL, just kidding. It can definitely get worse, with better running teams like Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah and USC looming on the schedule. It’s tough to see how UCLA finishes 6-6 now with the defense in the state it’s in currently. Given how outstanding Rosen is playing this year under Jedd Fisch, it’s criminal to waste such a special talent. But given UCLA’s recent history, it’s unsurprising that the offense is electric and the defense is dreadful. Never has there been a year I can remember when both sides are great at the same time. How UCLApossesses the unique skill of doing with so little with so much talent is mind boggling.
  8. To speak personally for a point, these losses to Stanford are exasperating. I stopped being incredulous about Stanford’s football success 5 years ago, and now I just accept that the Cardinal will be the program that I can only dream of UCLA being. That Stanford was the only school I was rejected from in college applications makes my own personal narrative for this matchup all the more backbreaking. In hindsight, the sequence in which Theo Howard dropped a touchdown on 3rd down, UCLA had a chip shot field goal blocked on 4th down and Stanford was in the end zone on the following drive was poetic. I should have seen it coming sooner given this series’ recent history, but in the face of hope, you throw reason out the window sometimes.
  9. I love Jim Mora. Really, I do. I worked for the athletic department in college and got to see Mora operate up close. He’s a good man who loves his players and the university, and he’s done a ton of work to bring the football program back from the dire straits it was in after Rick Neuheisel. But I struggle to see this ending well. UCLA is 7-13 in its last 20 games and has either been blown out or maddeningly short in big games. You saw his exasperation after the game on Saturday; Sisyphus was left helpless as his boulder crushed him slowly and painfully. I’m not sure if he’ll get one more crack at beating Stanford next season, but even if he does, the demons that haunt him against David Shaw may have consumed him whole by then. He’s lost 7 straight games to Stanford in every fashion imaginable; how could he break the duck now?
  10. Nothing is more frustrating than watching someone in life have it all set up for them and then just duff it completely. You see someone do that and seethe with annoyance tinged with envy since they’re making less with what they have than what you imagine yourself doing. That drives the mania of certain UCLA fans - the football program will never quite make full use of all the resources it has available. It has all the ingredients of a college football powerhouse, yet it’s been close to 20 years since UCLA was relevant to championship discussions. It also makes the jokes in the media and blogosphere and college football millieu as a whole about UCLA underachieving sting that much harder.

But to quote Morrisey, maybe the one person who can be just as morose and almost comically mopey as a UCLA football fan generally is, that joke isn’t funny anymore.