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UCLA Football Stanford Preview: Can The Bruins Stop Stanford's Offense?

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A look at the Stanford offense before the UCLA Bruins face them tonight in Palo Alto.

Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffrey are just two of the many weapons Stanford has on offense.
Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffrey are just two of the many weapons Stanford has on offense.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The question many people may be asking as UCLA heads into this game is: Which Kevin Hogan will show up?

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter as the Stanford offense has more weapons than just Kevin Hogan.

If Hogan is off in the passing game, the Bruins will still have to stop sophomore RB Christian McCaffrey. Just ask Oregon State. Hogan was 9-14 for 163 yards against the Beavers, but the Cardinal still put up 42 points as McCaffrey ran for more than 200 yards and Barry ("Don't Call Him Junior") Sanders ran for 97 yards.

Let's look at the position groups.

Quarterback

Kevin Hogan is clearly the leader of the Stanford offense. While he may be inconsistent at times, he is still an experienced quarterback. It's probably unlikely he will have as good a game tonight as he did against UCLA last year when he went 16-19 for 234 yards, but he is definitely able to beat a team with his arm.

Running Backs

It seems odd that on a team with the son of Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders, the featured back's last name is not Sanders, but Christian McCaffrey has been having a great season so far. Through just 5 games, he already has double the rushing yards he put up all of last season. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Barry Sanders is having his best season too with 233 yards so far including a 65-yard touchdown run against Oregon State.

Receivers

Anyone who saw last season's game will remember Hogan's 37-yard TD pass to Devon Cajuste right before halftime which gave Stanford the lead, but, so far, this season Michael Rector has been Hogan's most productive receiver with 233 receiving yards. TE Justin Hooper has 12 catches for 185 yards as well. All told, the Bruin defense will need to step up to stop this trio.

Offensive Line

Last, but not least, let's look at the line. As gbruin is fond of saying, line wins games. The Stanford line is a very experienced group anchored by senior guard Joshua Garnett and senior tackle Kyle Murphy on the left side. Redshirt juniors Graham Shuler at center and Johnny Caspers at right guard also have a lot of experience. The least experienced player on the line is right tackle Casey Tucker, a true sophomore who just won a starting role this season.

With an experienced line like this, it's no wonder McCaffrey already has 600 yards rushing for the season.

Hopefully, the bye week has given Bruin DC Tom Bradley enough time to prepare the depleted UCLA defense to stop all of Stanford's weapons. The key will be to keep the Cardinal out of the end zone in the first half as Stanford just doesn't lose if they take a lead into the locker room.