October 2, 2009

Bruins ready to take on the Cardinal

Saturday brings a game that is clearly big for both schools. And it's pretty clear how it's going to play out and what the key factors will be.

To digress just a second, there's a game that, unfortunately, that can't be erased from memory. UCLA, going up to Palo Alto, feeling good about themselves and favored to put Stanford away handily. But the Cards came out sky high, following the philosophy of hit the other guy first and hit him hard. If memory is correct, four Bruins were injured that game on ferocious tackles as Stanford got off first, knocked the Bruins back on their heels, and held on for victory even after the Bruins finally adjusted and got going later in the game.

That image will be clear in the minds of Stanford players, coaches and fans when the game kicks off shortly after 12:30 PDT on Saturday. The Bruins needn't bother with replaying that particular film. All they need to know is that this game will be engaged at the line of scrimmage. Stanford will go out there looking for a fight. Their goal will be to out-tough their opponents and pound their way to a home field victory. That's their desired approach and self-image this season.

This year's Bruins have some toughness of their own on the defense that will look to stop Stanford's running back, 231-pound senior Toby Gerhart, #7. Gerhart stands third right now among all the nation's running backs, averaging 129 yards gained per game; he gained more than 200 against Washington last Saturday. Gerhart is among the hardest hitters in the country and he's usually led into the hole by 241-pound fullback, junior Owen Marecic #48.

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