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Wake up Mr. West: Football hosts UCLA

Sophomore quarterback Jack West (above) will make his first career start tonight against UCLA. West completed 1-5 passes his freshman year, but has yet to attempt a pass in his sophomore campaign. (BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

After back-to-back victories against Oregon State and Washington, Stanford football (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) looks to extend its streak with a home game against UCLA (1-5, 1-2 Pac-12) under the Thursday night lights. The Cardinal have a chance to claim a winning record for the first time since the second week of the season with a matchup against the team with the conference’s worst record.

The two top quarterback options, senior captain KJ Costello and junior Davis Mills, have been ruled out for the game. Sophomore signal-caller Jack West will make his first career start.

West appeared in the end of the Washington upset, handing the ball off nine consecutive times to fifth-year running back Cameron Scarlett.

All eyes will be on the breakout star of Stanford’s backfield. As the leading running back in the Pac-12 in terms of rushing attempts and rushing yards with 127 and 564, respectively, Scarlett could be due for another milestone performance with the third-string quarterback under center. After posting career highs in carries (33) and rushing yards (151) last game, the Scarlett Fever may be Stanford’s best option to put points on the board.

The Cardinal and the Bruins will be meeting for the 91st time when the teams face off in Stanford Stadium this Thursday night. Stanford has won the last eleven contests in a row, including all nine contests under head coach David Shaw. The last meeting resulted in a thriller, where Costello threw for five touchdowns in 49-42 win.

UCLA’s last game was against Oregon State where they suffered a 48-31 loss. The Bruins only win of the season came in a 67-63 shootout with Washington State.

Defensively, the Cardinal have been on a mission as of late. Last game, the group allowed the Huskies’ offense just 294 offensive yards for the entire game.

Another facet of Stanford’s offensive attack that will surely attract the attention of UCLA head coach Chip Kelly’s defensive stratagems is last week’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Week wide receiver Simi Fehoko. With his first career touchdown grab, for 42 yards, Fehoko broke the game wide open entering the half.

Stanford has also sustained significant injuries along the offensive line, which will mean three freshmen will be forced into duty against UCLA. Thursday’s game could feature some unlikely heroes, including freshman left tackle Walter Rouse, who has filled in for Preseason All-American Walker Little after the junior’s season-ending injury in game one of the season against Northwestern.     

Sitting at number two in the Pac-12 North behind only Oregon, the Cardinal have an excellent chance to advance their standing in the conference and increase their early odds to qualify for another bowl game with a victory Thursday night.

This collegiate edition of Thursday Night Football kicks off at 6 p.m. at Stanford Stadium. 

Contact Joseph Anderson at jodieous ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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