By Michael Woo
As of late, Stanford-UCLA has proven to be a marquee matchup in college football, and Thursday night’s game will likely prove no different. Both teams come into the affair at 4-1, with Stanford ranked 15th in the nation and UCLA ranked 18th. Recent history suggests that the Cardinal hold the upper hand in the blossoming rivalry, as Stanford has won the last seven meetings, but with freshman stud Josh Rosen coming into town with the team’s 12-game win streak in away games, UCLA looks as threatening as ever. Here’s a look at the last three matchups between these two teams.
2012: Stanford claims Pac-12 Championship
Exactly six days prior to the Pac-12 Championship, Stanford defeated UCLA 35-17 in the regular season finale to earn a spot in the conference championship, only to find itself facing the same opponent. Having just beaten UCLA on the road, Stanford appeared to be the favorite to capture its first conference title since 1999.
Yet a berth in the Rose Bowl would not come easily to the Cardinal. UCLA got on the board first via a 51-yard touchdown run four minutes into the game. A back-and-forth battle ensued throughout the game, but the Bruins took a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was a quiet day offensively for Stanford, as senior Stepfan Taylor was limited to 78 yards on the ground, coming off 24 carries. Thus, Stanford relied on redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan’s late-game heroics to lead them to victory. Having been held scoreless in the third quarter, Hogan led the offense on a 63-yard drive to start the fourth quarter, which culminated in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Drew Terrell, tying the game at 24. On the following Stanford drive, Jordan Williamson converted a 36-yard field goal with six minutes left in the game, sealing the win for the Cardinal.
2013: Stanford defense dominates UCLA
The No. 9 Bruins came into Stanford Stadium undefeated, averaging 45.8 points per game through the first five games of the season. Quarterback Brett Hundley was emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and UCLA was eager to flip the script on the Stanford rivalry. The Cardinal, however, would not be shown up in their own home. The Stanford defense limited Hundley to 192 passing yards and 27 rushing yards while also forcing 2 interceptions.
As a team, UCLA only rushed for 74 yards and was held scoreless in the first half. The Bruins scored their first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter and fell to Stanford 24-10. A pounding Cardinal running game, led by Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns, complemented the dominant performance from the defense.
2014: Stanford spoils UCLA’s season
2014 will be predominantly remembered as a year of disappointment for Stanford football. After winning two consecutive Pac-12 Championships, the Cardinal finally fell from grace and finished the regular season 7-5. Yet before the year concluded, Stanford still had the opportunity to leave its mark on the Pac-12 season.
No. 9 UCLA was looking to clinch the Pac-12 South and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game with a season-finale win, but standing in its way was a Stanford team against whom it would find minimal success. Despite a down year for Stanford football, the team still dominated the Bruins. Once again, the defense shut down Hundley, who threw for 146 yards and rushed for -18 yards. Hundley’s counterpart, Hogan, turned in one of the best performances of his career, going 16-of-19 on the day for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. Besides the opening season loss to Northwestern, the offensive outburst from the UCLA game has carried over into the 2015 season.
Contact Michael Woo at mtwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.