PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

By Frank LaCosta

In a conference that in recent years has been dominated by the likes of USC and Oregon it is a pleasant surprise to see two teams that none of the pundits expected at the start of the season to be in the title game. UCLA upset USC to represent the South Division and Stanford took care of Oregon in the North Division. This isn’t déjà vu although the two teams met up last week to wrap up the regular season in Pasadena. That game will be remembered as a dress rehearsal. A game in which Stanford easily defeated UCLA sets up this one with the winner going to a BCS Bowl game. Throughout the history of college football often times when two teams meet in a rematch the outcome is often different. Expect the unexpected with this game being a rare consecutive match up at the college level. Both head coaches have NFL experience and will have to rely on it to lead their team to victory.

UCLA is looking to return to its first Rose Bowl since 1999 and will have to rely on redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley to play mistake free football. Last week he was sacked seven times and threw a costly interception. For the season he has passed for over 3200 yards with 26 TDs. His offensive line will need to provide plenty of protection since Hundley doesn’t scramble well. He can throw the ball deep and will need his receivers to make plays. Look for him to target Shaquelle Evans when in a pinch. Senior RB Johnathan Franklin will need to duplicate his efforts from the USC game to take pressure off of Hundley with an effective running game.

Stanford has 10 wins on the season for the third straight season which is a first in school history. They are a team that needs to win the war in the trenches to stand a chance. The Cardinal have recently utilized freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan to lead the team. He has filled in for Josh Nunes nicely. He’ll look for WRs Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo to keep the Bruin defense honest. The ground game is handled by Stephan Taylor from Mansfield. The bruising back will look to pound the ball between the tackles to move the chains and control the clock.

Game Info:

#17 UCLA vs #8 STANFORD

FRI. NOV. 30 – 7:00PM / FOX

STANFORD STADIUM

 

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