This afternoon, the UCLA Bruins will host the Stanford Cardinal in one of the biggest games this season, and possibly of the Jim Mora era at UCLA. Why could it be one of the biggest games of the Jim Mora era at UCLA? Well, NickPope19 lays that argument out pretty well.
The bottom line is simple: Jim Mora has not beaten Stanford since he started at UCLA. In order for the Bruins to be the best in the Pac-12, they have to beat the best of the Pac-12 and that means beating #7 Stanford today and that brings us to the keys to today's game.
Keys to the Game
In order for UCLA to win today, there are a few things that must happen.
First and foremost, that means stopping Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey or at least keeping him check. McCaffrey needs to be kept to under 200 all-purpose yards. Is the defense up to the task? After watching them contain BYU last week, the answer should be yes.
However, Takkarist McKinley may not be as healthy as was thought earlier in the week. You know that if he's healthy, the guy is a beast. If Tak and the rest of the defense is healthy like they were last week, there's no reason that Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley won't have his guys ready to play.
The second key is to control the line of scrimmage. This one is the big challenge. The UCLA offensive line struggled to establish the run last week against BYU and Josh Rosen found himself under all sorts of pressure. The Bruins need to block and block well for Soso Jamabo and give Rosen the time he needs to get the ball to his receivers downfield.
The third and final key to the game will be playing a disciplined game. UCLA hasn't exactly played disciplined football in past seasons, but head coach Jim Mora and staff have really emphasized this aspect of the game with the teams all off season. This is the Pac-12 Conference opener, which means that there will be a Pac-12 officiating crew. And, it's a late afternoon/evening game. That can only mean one thing: #Pac12AfterDark.
Once the sun sets, all bets are off on what could happen in this game.
Just in case you haven't bought into the notion of #Pac12AfterDark yet, I present exhibit A: last night's game between Utah and Southern Cal. With Utah down by three, time running down and the ball on the Trojan 23, Utah could have opted to kick a field goal to tie the game when they faced fourth and one for the second time on the final drive. But, Kyle Whittingham had the guts to leave his team on the field to convert their second fourth down on that drive alone. Zack Moss picked up the first down and then some and, on the next play, Troy Williams threw and 18-yard TD pass to Tim Patrick to win the game.
You just can't predict what is going to happen in a night time Pac-12 football game.
But, I digress. the bottom line here is that the Bruins will need to play well-disciplined football against a disciplined Stanford team. Any little breakdown by the Bruins could cost them 15 yards and, if it's at bad time, the game.
Now, that you have the keys to today's game, here's how to watch, listen and stream it. But, of course, your first option should be to get yourself a ticket and show up for your team today at the Rose Bowl.
How To Watch, Listen, Stream and More
- Saturday, September 24, 2016, 5:00 pm PT
- Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
- ABC with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Samantha Ponder
- 1150 AM in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook
- Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 84 & XM Channel 84 (UCLA Call)
- And, of course, the Bruins Nation Game Thread!!!
- WatchESPN.com and the ESPN App
Rebroadcast (All times PT):
- Sunday, 9/25 12:30 am on ESPNU
- Sunday, 9/25, 4:00 pm on ESPNU
- Monday, 9/26, 6:00 pm on Pac-12 Bay Area
- Monday, 9/26, 8:00 pm on Pac-12 National