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UCLA Football: Stanford Post-Game Roundtable

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The writers and editors of Bruins Nation discuss UCLA’s 34-16 victory over Stanford.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

1. The streak is over! Let’s get some things off our chest regarding the last 10 years to start.

AnteatersandBruins: Fans of the Stanford Cardinal like to rub it in that they keep beating us but never go to games or know anything about the program can take a seat. It wasn’t just one curse that we shook off—we also played a nationally televised game on a Thursday. That was a recipe for disaster in the past.

Shayan Saalabi: Well, I was twelve the last time the Bruins beat Stanford and I managed to attend UCLA in the decade since. So, here’s to the end of things!

Dimitri Dorlis: There really was so much going on that UCLA had to overcome — the Stanford problem primarily, but also UCLA’s recent abilities to both make opposing backup quarterbacks look like Heisman contenders and faceplant on national television. So, taking all of that into account, this was a solid victory and guarantees I won’t have to hear Stanford fans respond with “Scoreboard!” for at least a year while I trash talk David Shaw for being the most conservative coach ever.

Joe Piechowski: It’s about time. I was about as tired of losing to Stanford as I am of losing in general. At least one of those is done for at least a year.

2. The UCLA Bruins offense moved the ball well early before falling into a more conservative approach once they had a large enough lead. How would you rate their performance in this game?

AnteatersandBruins: The run up the middle needs to be ripped out of the play book. It’s predictable, vanilla, and flat out frustrating to watch. That said, Dorian Thompson-Robinson looked like he had some confidence back and really connected well with Kyle Phillips. These guys have a bright future ahead.

Shayan Saalabi: The offense looked like it finally had direction -- they knew that risks were going to be taken and that they were in it to score. That couldn’t have been said about some of their previous efforts, where the offense looked lost for long, long stretches.

Dimitri Dorlis: I think the offense was good enough for what was required in this game. They didn’t set the world on fire but they did enough to make me believe that, should the game have remained competitive for a longer time, they’d have been able to operate at a higher level for longer.

Joe Piechowski: I’m with Dimitri. They didn’t set the world on fire. Given how this team has played over the lasst year and a half, I don’t think one game should be used to say that anyone has a “bright future ahead.” I want to see some consistency next. Then, maybe we can consider saying something like that.

3. The defense had their best performance of the year and it was against a back-up quarterback no less. How would you rate their performance?

AnteatersandBruins: A++. While Stanford was playing a third stringer, we were still able to break through their offensive line for seven sacks, which more than tripled out total for the season. I was also pleasantly surprised to see our corners playing closer and more aggressively and not giving opposing receivers a five yard cushion.

Shayan Saalabi: I’m hesitant to dole out too much praise, considering that they were spared from facing KJ Costello, who burned the Bruins’ secondary for five touchdown tosses last year. Costello’s absence aside, the pass rush was on point. B+?

Dimitri Dorlis: Great for what it was. For the people who argued that DTR was not a D1 level quarterback, may I present as a counterargument: Jack West, who looked completely out of his depth for the vast majority of this game. UCLA was able to take advantage of West’s shortcomings and an inexperienced line en route to a dominant performance, which is only good when you consider the fact that the Bruins finally performed to expectations.

Joe Piechowski: On one hand, the defense wasn’t embarrassed by a backup quarterback or during a national TV appearance but, I think it shows how low the program has fallen when we start throwing around superlatives after one reasonably decent game. Again, I want consistency.

4. UCLA is now 1-0 in the back half of the schedule. Did this game make you think more wins are on the schedule or is this as good as it gets?

AnteatersandBruins: If we haven’t turned the corner yet, we’re definitely staring it down. I don’t think this was our last win of the season and anything is definitely possible. Next week’s game will really show whether this was legit progress or a fluke.

Shayan Saalabi: It’s really hard to say. It’s one thing to rally for the one-off win. It’s another to string together two or three against quality opponents. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Dimitri Dorlis: I think there are still wins that are available on the schedule, if only by virtue of the Pac-12 just not being very good. But UCLA is going to have to play at a consistently higher level than they have for the majority of this season to achieve that. It’s hard for me to say this game was a great sign for the future so much as UCLA taking advantage of an outmanned opponent, but it at least was a win.

Joe Piechowski: I’m reminded of the quote from fictional Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown, as played by Jack Gammon, in the movie Major League II. Brown tells his team, “We won a game yesterday. If we win one today, that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak.” I want to see two in a row first and then an actual winning streak before saying we’re about to turn a corner.

5. The Extra Point - Sound off!

AnteatersandBruins: This was hands down the most complete game we’ve seen all season. Things finally came together on both sides of the ball and they showed what they are truly capable of. I only hope this is a trend and something we can expect to see going forward.

Shayan Saalabi: I’ve really loved watching the Sun Devils this year — they truly have a knack for the last-second win. I think the Bruins can hang with them, though, and I’m excited to see how this one shakes out late.

Dimitri Dorlis: Honestly, as many reservations as I have following this game, it’s still nice to finally have a victory over Stanford, if only because it means I can finally pick UCLA to win this game going forward rather than assume a loss is coming.

Joe Piechowski: This was the most complete game we’ve seen all season, but consistently playing well is needed. Until that happens, I’m going to look at Chip Kelly with skepticism.


Go Bruins!!!