Football predictions: Stanford vs. UCLA

Oct. 15, 2015, 12:53 a.m.

No. 18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 15 Stanford (4-1, 3-0 Pac-12)

Michael Peterson: Stanford 35, UCLA 34

For the fifth time in six games, the Cardinal will face a first-year starter at quarterback, but UCLA’s Josh Rosen presents easily the toughest test of any of the quarterbacks Stanford has faced not named Cody Kessler. Even with some recent struggles, Rosen has been able to lean upon the talents of Paul Perkins, last year’s Pac-12 rushing leader, and Thomas Duarte and Jordan Payton, two of the better receivers in the conference, to lead UCLA to a 4-1 start. Another shootout seems to be in the making, and ultimately, UCLA’s trio of season-ending injuries on defense — to Myles Jack, Eddie Vanderdoes and Fabian Moreau — will help Stanford get the edge it needs to outlast UCLA in a back-and-forth battle that might just be decided by who has the ball last. Don’t discount the revenge factor, though: Stanford prevented UCLA from going to the Pac-12 Championship last year and Stanford, Rosen’s dream school, didn’t offer the quarterback for reasons which are somewhat unclear. I’ll take Stanford, but this one could easily go either way.

Vihan Lakshman: UCLA 42, Stanford 37

As Michael mentioned, UCLA has been waiting for this day for a long time, and coming off of a bye week, the Bruins will bring their absolute A-game to Stanford Stadium. In his tenure in Westwood, Jim Mora has compiled a stellar 7-1 record following a week off, and the added preparation time, coupled with a dangerous dose of motivation, will test the Cardinal for a full 60 minutes. Amidst a swatch of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, especially with the loss of Myles Jack, expect Stanford to continue imposing its will on the ground (in the past two games, the Bruins have given up 353 rushing yards to Arizona and 192 to Arizona State). However, the Bruins have more than enough weapons on offense, a quarterback destined for stardom in Josh Rosen and the savage desire to erase years of frustration to match Stanford blow for blow. Both squads come out firing in a back-and-forth shootout as, ultimately, a couple of fortuitous bounces and some late Rosen magic make the difference for UCLA.

Andrew Mather: Stanford 48, UCLA 31

Honestly, you have to feel sort of bad for UCLA. The Bruins have looked utterly helpless against the Cardinal in the Hogan/Shaw era, so much so that this game has almost made me start rooting for their underdog story.

Unfortunately for Jim Mora’s side, I don’t see the script changing much this year. Nobody has had any answers to the Stanford offense in recent weeks, and I see UCLA’s worn-down squad getting chewed up by Christian McCaffrey and the Stanford offensive line. I can’t imagine the Bruins’ attack will fare all that much better – star running back Paul Perkins all but evaporated in their last two showdowns against Arizona and Arizona State, meaning it looks like even more could fall onto Josh Rosen’s heavily-weighted shoulders. Even a marquee performance by The Rosen One could leave UCLA short, however, as the Bruins simply lack the strength and depth to wrestle the ball away David Shaw’s possession-centric style. As a result, the only outcome I see is the Cardinal sending UCLA packing and recording an explosive eighth consecutive series victory.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 80, UCLA 21

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