A Young Fan's Take: Stanford Trounces UCLA

Last time I sat in the Stanford section of the Rose Bowl, it was to watch a 35-0 trouncing of UCLA -- a win that could have easily been attributed to the once-in-a-generation combination of Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh. However, two years later, David Shaw and a very new Stanford football team proved that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Though Kevin Hogan may not be the second coming of Luck, his efficient performance of 160 passing yards, no interceptions, and one touchdown shows that he certainly is the serviceable quarterback that the Cardinal needs. (As a side note, I jumped for joy when a holding penalty negated former Stanford commit and current UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt's interception. As Zumwalt hung his head in disbelief, I couldn't help but think, "You chose the wrong school, Jordan.") Moreover, the Stanford offense hearkened back to the good ol' days and worked tirelessly to establish the run. Despite some disappointing 3-and-outs early on, our power run game eventually took its toll on the UCLA defense, setting Stepfan Taylor up for big plays like his 49-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and his 40-yard scamper to the 2 yard line in the third quarter.

Defensively, Stanford has been dominant all season, and tonight was no different. Our tenacious front seven racked up seven sacks on QB Brett Hundley, while a 71-yard pass play served as a wake up call to our defensive backs, who minimized UCLA passing opportunities thereafter and came up big with an interception by Jordan Richards. Even the special teams got in on the action, with Usua Amanam recovering a fumble on the kickoff return for a touchdown.

Even though the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band took the game off to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend [Ed: a nice way of saying they aren't allowed to travel this year after playing through Oklahoma State's trophy presentation at the Fiesta Bowl], supporters still showed up en masse, singing their own off-key renditions of "All Right Now" and painting a sizable chunk of the Rose Bowl in Cardinal red.

Our performance tonight set us up for a rematch against UCLA on Friday with a conference championship and a Rose Bowl berth at stake. Taking care of business against UCLA one more time will ensure our first return to the Rose Bowl since our 17-9 defeat against Wisconsin in 2000. Strangely enough, my parents tell me that I actually attended that game with them as an almost-two-year-old. Although I can't claim to have any recollection of the game itself, my passion for Stanford football was apparently ingrained in me from an early age.

I'm heading back to Andover on Monday, but hopefully my Winter Break will include a trip back to Pasadena for the 2013 Rose Bowl!

About the Author: Justin Muchnick is a ninth grade student-athlete at Philips Academy Andover in Massachusetts.  In addition to being an avid Stanford sports fan, he is extremely passionate about soccer, wrestling, reading and history. He still remains our youngest Bootleg journalist.

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