LOS ANGELES -- UCLA has a Stanford problem.
The Cardinal has won seven consecutive games against the Bruins, including a regular-season-ending 31-10 victory in Pasadena last year that prevented UCLA from winning the Pac-12 South. At that point, the Bruins even had hope of sneaking into the College Football Playoff.
But with so much on the line, Stanford exerted its will over the Bruins once again, holding UCLA to a scant 262 yards.
The teams meet again Thursday night in Palo Alto, Calif. No. 15 Stanford is 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12. UCLA is 4-1 and 1-1.
UCLA coach Jim Mora is 0-4 in three seasons against Stanford, a record that includes a loss in the 2012 league championship game.
"I think every year is a different deal," Jim Mora said.
"If you dwell on the past, whether it's a positive past, you have to approach every game and every year as a different entity. And that's what we have to do. Our freshmen have never played Stanford and our sophomores have only played once."
As for the more recent past, UCLA is coming off a 38-23 loss to Arizona State on Oct. 3.
Mora didn't like the way his team gave up rushing yards late in that defeat, and he fretted about giving up 353 rushing yards to Arizona a week earlier, even though the Bruins won easily in that game. Part of the problem there is that defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and LB Myles Jack are out for the season because of injuries.
"We had to rearrange the puzzle a little," Mora said of the work done in bye-week practices.
That includes having Kenny Young go from middle linebacker to outside linebacker, with Isaako Savaiinaea stepping into the middle linebacker spot (which Eric Kendricks handled so well last year en route to winning the Butkus Award).
"It seems like it's an easy thing to do, to just switch positions, but it's really not," Mora said. "It changes all your reads, and your alignments."
Mora did add: "I think we're re-organized now."
UCLA will have to be against a physical, persistent Stanford running game that has been picking up steam since an opening loss at Northwestern. The Cardinal ran for 212 yards vs. UCLA last season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--LB Isaako Savaiinaea is the team's new middle linebacker. He had 15 tackles against Arizona State and, at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, should be strong against the run. "When he gets on the field, he has the ability to make plays," coach Jim Mora said of the junior.
--QB Josh Rosen is playing about as well as could be expected from a true freshman. He ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency with a rating of 134.6. Not surprisingly, he has to do better when under pressure in the pocket, but he's already shown he can make all the throws when given time.
--RB Paul Perkins hasn't cracked 100 rushing yards in either of the past two games, which hardly seems possible. He's still 21st in the country with 115.4 yards per game on the ground, and he has as good a skill set -- mixing speed, power and elusiveness -- as any back in the Pac-12.
SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads Stanford 45-38-3, although the Cardinal has won seven in a row by an average score of 31.6 to 13.7.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a friend of mine. Certainly my heart goes out to him, and I wish the best for him. I care about him." -- UCLA coach Jim Mora, on fired USC coach Steve Sarkisian, who reportedly entered rehab Monday for a drinking problem