Stanford football looks to keep rolling through Pac-12 

Running back Stepfan Taylor has been an ideal complement to Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck. Taylor had a standout game against Arizona with 153 yards. (AP file photo) - RUNNING BACK STEPFAN TAYLOR HAS BEEN AN IDEAL COMPLEMENT TO HEISMAN HOPEFUL ANDREW LUCK. TAYLOR HAD A STANDOUT GAME AGAINST ARIZONA WITH 153 YARDS. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • Running back Stepfan Taylor has been an ideal complement to Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck. Taylor had a standout game against Arizona with 153 yards. (AP file photo)
  • Running back Stepfan Taylor has been an ideal complement to Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck. Taylor had a standout game against Arizona with 153 yards. (AP file photo)

Sixth-ranked Stanford comes off a bye week and looks to keep the nation’s longest winning streak alive as it hosts UCLA in its Pac-12 Conference home opener Saturday night.

“We’ve played well, but we haven’t played our best football,” Stanford coach David Shaw said.

Stanford (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12 North) led by three late in the second quarter in Arizona before scoring 24 unanswered points to win its most recent game 37-10.

Stanford’s current 11-game winning streak is the longest since 1939-41 and is only two short of the school record of 13.

Andrew Luck threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, while Stepfan Taylor had a standout game, going for a career-high 153 yards rushing against Arizona.

But what has been the most encouraging, according to Shaw, has been the rapid improvement of Stanford’s young offensive and defensive lines.

The lines were the biggest questions coming into the season and Shaw said they have gotten better with each passing week.

Juniors Sam Schwartzstein, David DeCastro and Jonathan Marti, along with redshirt freshmen David Yankey and Cameron Fleming compose the third-youngest offensive line in the nation.

The line has combined to make 65 starts with nearly 90 percent of them being made by DeCastro (29) and Martin (27).

Nose tackle Terrance Stephens, who replaced Sione Fua, has helped anchor a defense that has now allowed 14 or fewer points in each of its first three games.

“We’ve played really well,” Shaw said. “Our defense has played better for longer stretches than our offense.”

The Cardinal have won two straight against UCLA (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12 South), with last year’s meeting ending in a 38-0 rout of the Bruins in Pasadena.

Stanford had two weeks to prepare for UCLA, but used extra days to recover from a physical pounding from Arizona.

“We were a mash unit after the Arizona game,” Shaw said. “They don’t get enough credit for being such a physical team.”

Shaw, though, has seen UCLA improve each of the past couple weeks, highlighting junior quarterback Richard Brehaut.

Brehaut has proved early on to be a threat through the air and on the ground.

“You still have to account for him,” Shaw said.

To go along with more than 700 yards through the air, Brehaut has run for 140.

UCLA is coming off a 27-19 win at Oregon State to open conference play on Sept. 24.

 

GAME DAY

Stanford (3-0) vs. UCLA (2-2)

WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Stanford Stadium

TV: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

RADIO: KNBR (1050 AM)

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Zack Farmer

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