6 Stanford boasted a packed stadium as they hosted UCLA at home. The Cardinal was in control of the pace and tempo of the game. They went on to win 45-19 over the Bruins.
1. Luck puts on a show – Quarterback Andrew Luck showed he has other skills besides just being able to throw the ball efficiently. In addition to completing 85% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns, Luck also made a brilliant one handed grab on a trick play in the first half. Coach Shaw actually lined up Luck as a wide receiver on quite a few plays, putting running back Tyler Gaffney in the shotgun in the Wildcat package. With Luck’s speed and ability to make highlight reel catches, teams might play a bit tighter coverage on Luck than they would on your average quarterback. In all seriousness, Luck put together another spectacular game. With the running game going as well as it is right now, this offense is near impossible to stop.
**2. Offense pressures UCLA ** – The Bruins have shown themselves to be a run first team. The Cardinal, on the other hand, are solid against most rushing attacks. UCLA was successful in that they were able to rush for 141 yards, averaging nearly 5 yards a carry. UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin made some big plays but it is difficult to continue running the ball when your team is in a hole. Luck and the Stanford offense were efficient and made the most of their red zone opportunities, only settling for one field goal this week. As a result, UCLA had to pass when they would usually prefer to run. Quarterback Richard Brehaut attempted more passes in this game than he did in any other. This was the only time this season in which the Bruins made more pass attempts than carries.
3. Capitalizing on Turnovers – Stanford made some big plays on defense in the first half. On the very first drive of the game, UCLA took the ball all the way down to the goal line but failed to get the ball in the endzone on a 4th and goal run from the Stanford 2. Luck then proceeded to take the ball 99 yards (119 yards if you count penalties) and score 7 the other way. On UCLA’s next drive, linebacker Chase Thomas forced a fumble which led to a short field and another Stanford touchdown. Late in the third quarter, UCLA managed to force a three and out on Stanford. Ty Montgomery, however, forced a fumble on the punt return. Four plays later, Gaffney ran the ball in for a touchdown, effectively sealing the victory for Stanford.
4. Ball control – Stanford ran the ball exceptionally well, racking up over 200 yards rushing. Shaw still continues to show his dedication to the run. Also, the effectiveness of the running game has made Luck deadly on play action fakes. Overall, most teams have to pick their poison. Stanford, however, has been cutting up teams with both efficient passing and hardnosed running.
5. Stanford Secondary – The secondary has been giving up yards in previous games. In this game, they managed to limit Brehaut to 202 yards passing. Though the Bruins are primarily a run first team, the Cardinal did not give up any big passing plays the way they did in previous weeks. The defense was willing to concede short passes in favor of stopping down the field passes. The rush also helped with hurrying Brehaut into some poor throws. Overall, the fact that the secondary’s play went rather unnoticed is a compliment to their solid performance.
Stanford chalked up another relatively dominant victory this week. They play Colorado at home next Saturday.