Stanford-UCLA Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 20, 2012
UCLA coach Jim Mora doesn't care who the Bruins face in next week's Pac-12 championship game. Stanford is looking to join them, and play host. The No. 11 Cardinal will try to set up a rematch with 15th-ranked UCLA by extending their winning streak in the series to four games Saturday. The Bruins (9-2, 5-2) are headed back to the conference title game after beating then-No. 21 Southern California 38-28 last weekend, clinching the South Division. Next week's opponent is still unclear after Stanford (11-2, 8-1) upset top-ranked Oregon 17-14 in overtime last Saturday, seemingly ending the Ducks' BCS title game aspirations and severely denting their return to the conference championship. Stanford and Oregon are tied atop the North Division heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Ducks are at No. 16 Oregon State earlier Saturday, but that result won't matter since a Cardinal win would have the teams playing again in Northern California six days later. Mora, though, isn't looking that far ahead. "Just thinking about one thing, and that's just trying to have a great game and win Saturday," he said. "I don't know who we're going to play (in the conference championship). It doesn't even matter. All that matters is Saturday. I don't have time to waste on those things." Stanford surely feels differently after running its winning streak to a season-high five games after Jordan Williamson connected for a 37-yard field goal in OT last week. The Cardinal also held high-octane Oregon to a season-low 405 offensive yards. "As I told our guys, we don't get a trophy for (beating Oregon)," coach David Shaw said. "All we did was put ourselves in a good position and now we have to go play a really good UCLA team." Stanford has won three in a row against the Bruins, but that came with Andrew Luck at quarterback - including a 35-0 victory at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 11, 2010. Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will try to pick up where Luck left off in his third start since replacing an ineffective Josh Nunes. So far, Hogan has orchestrated upset wins over the Ducks and the then-No. 13 Beavers, completing 72.3 percent of his passes for 465 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He's also raced for 86 yards and another score on 19 carries. Hogan may be in for another big day since the Bruins have surrendered 798 passing yards the last two games and 1,037 overall. Stepfan Taylor had little trouble with UCLA in a 45-19 home win Oct. 1, 2011, gaining 112 yards with two touchdowns on 17 rushes. The senior running back has reached the end zone twice in two games while totaling 275 yards on 52 carries - including a season-high 33 last week. UCLA's offense is also led by a senior running back and a freshman quarterback. Johnathan Franklin is second in the conference with a career-high 1,441 rushing yards, and he's gained 563 of them over the last four games, averaging 5.7 per carry with seven total scores. Franklin carried the load again last week, rushing a career-high 29 times for 171 yards and two TDs. Brett Hundley continues to be efficient under center, tossing 12 touchdowns compared to two interceptions in five games, while adding four more scores on the ground. Joseph Fauria has hauled in a team-high 10 of Hundley's 25 TD passes, catching five in four games. The senior tight end had two scoring grabs against Stanford last year. "He's a big time matchup problem," Mora said of the 6-foot-7 Fauria. "He's so long. He uses his body well to shield the defender and go up and catch it. I think it's a comfort to Brett to know that he can just toss it up there high, put it up on the top shelf and Joe can go up and get it."
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