Stanford tries to build off the largest comeback victory in program history when it hosts No. 25 UCLA in a Pac-12 Conference game Saturday night.
The Cardinal (2-4, 1-3) rallied from a 29-0 deficit to stun Colorado 46-43 in double overtime last Friday in Boulder, Colo.
The victory ended a seven-game conference losing streak for Stanford and instilled a level of confidence that first-year coach Troy Taylor has been hoping to see.
“We’re going to get it done here, there’s no question,” Taylor said. “I think we got a chance to see a little bit of what we can do here. We have a long way to go, there’s no question about that. The things that are really important: the resolve, the tenacity, the courage, the willingness, and the need to be great at something we have, we have all that now. We just have to continue to improve and get better.”
UCLA (4-2, 1-2) is looking to get back on track after facing three straight ranked teams and going 1-2.
The Bruins most recently lost 36-24 at then-No. 15 Oregon State last Saturday. UCLA coach Chip Kelly blamed the defeat on his team’s three turnovers, which led to 13 points.
“With a 12-point game, we have to do a better job offensively, in all phases, especially in the turnover deal,” Kelly said. “You can’t lose the turnover battle on the road in this conference and expect to win the football game.”
Cleaning up the turnovers will require better pass protection, crisper route running and greater accuracy from freshman quarterback Dante Moore, who has completed just 45.5 percent of his passes in the past three games.
Kelly said Moore has the resiliency and maturity to quickly put poor performances behind him.
“He has the ability to live in the present,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t live in the past. He doesn’t live in the future. He lives in the present, and that’s a real special quality for people to have. I think in every situation he learns, and he’ll grow from it.”
Taylor has witnessed that quality in his team as well.
The Cardinal lost four straight games earlier this season, including 30-23 to Sacramento State, and then fell behind 29-0 in the first half against Colorado.
“I’m really happy for our guys; they’ve been through a lot,” Taylor said. “Early in the year, we had a couple of tough games and we had a couple of losses where we could have won easily. I was really worried about how demoralized it gets, so I spent a lot of time meeting and talking with them, but after about three or four weeks, I realized that these guys are never going to quit. They’re never going to stop preparing and competing.”
Ashton Daniels showed he’s the person to lead Stanford after passing for 396 yards and four touchdowns against Colorado. Daniels completed 27 of 45 passes in the win after combining to go 23-for-44 in the previous four games.
“This is an inspiring group,” Taylor said. “I’ve never been around this quality of a group of men that just give everything they got regardless of what they’re going against.”