UCLA’s last win over Stanford was on Oct. 18, 2008.
Kevin Craft was the Bruins quarterback. Toby Gerhart was still burning defenses out of the Cardinal’s backfield. Hip-hop artist T.I. had the top two songs on Billboard’s Hop 100 list. Snapchat wouldn’t be invented for another three years.
It was, by many estimations, a different time. Stanford has won the eight meetings since.
“All I worry about is this team right now,” UCLA Coach Jim Mora said earlier this week. “They have not beaten us and we have not beaten them and that’s why we’re playing Saturday.”
Stanford (2-0) comes into the matchup ranked seventh in the country and coming off a 27-10 win over USC last week. The Bruins (2-1) are opening their Pac-12 schedule against the Cardinal, and have been up-and-down in wins over Nevada-Las Vegas and Brigham Young.
If UCLA wants to snap its near-decade long losing streak to Stanford, it will have to somehow slow multi-threat running back Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey has 298 rushing yards through two games this season, including three touchdowns on the ground. He’s also an integral part of Stanford’s passing and return games. Against the Bruins last season, he ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns.
“I don’t think anybody does all the things he does all-purpose — catch it, block, run, ‘Wildcat’ it, punt returns, kickoffs,” UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said Tuesday. “He’s such an explosive runner.”
The Cardinal’s star running back isn’t the only reason it is considered the class of the Pac-12. But he does provide the biggest obstacle for the Bruins, a team that wants to squash what’s become an annual tradition over the last eight years.
“Well they haven’t beaten this team eight in a row,” said Mora in a way that only a football coach can. “They’ve never beaten this team.”