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Know Your Foe: Stanford

Sept. 23 -- We asked Scout's Stanford site, The Bootleg, five questions about the Cardinal heading into Saturday night's big matchup with UCLA at the Rose Bowl...

1. In what ways does new Stanford quarterback Ryan Burns differ from Kevin Hogan, who seemed to shine any time he faced UCLA over the years? In what ways are they the same?

As a first-year starter, Burns doesn't have the pre- or post-snap savvy that Hogan had as a senior, but he has been poised and shown a strong arm so far. Like Hogan, he has no problem with contact whatsoever, and has made plays with his feet.

Shotgun Spratling |

2. What type of impact does the return of Harrison Phillips have on Stanford defensive front this week? Did they show any vulnerability against USC last week?

Huge. USC's run success was a huge issue in Phillips' absence.  Their biggest vulnerability so far has been their linebackers, who have struggled mightily in pass coverage.

3. The Cardinal have had quite a bit of success against the Bruins recently. Two games into the 2016 season, how would this team stack up with the best David Shaw has produced?

The upside for this team is to be the best he's ever produced, but Burns will have to prove himself on the road before they get placed on that mantle.

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4. Christian McCaffrey is good. What is the over/under on his total yardage for Saturday and what does UCLA need to do to contain him?

Tough to put a number on it, but what UCLA can do is focus on his damage inside the tackles as a runner. If he has success there, the Bruins have little hope of stopping him anywhere else on the field.

5. Stanford does a great job to control the tempo, especially when it gets ahead early. How crucial is it for this team to score first? What is your score prediction?

I stay away from score predictions, but based on early returns from both teams, I'd expect a score in the 20's. Scoring first is a big part of what Stanford does because it invites big doses of the run game coach Shaw loves so much. Falling behind isn't necessarily a death knell considering the Cardinal's big play threats, but it certainly takes them out of their comfort zone.

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