Setting the Stage for the Pac-12 Championship game

Setting the Stage for the Pac-12 Championship game
FILE - In this, Sept. 8, 2012, file photo, UCLA head coach Jim Mora gestures during the first half of an NCAA football game against Nebraska in Pasadena, Calif. UCLA plays No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday in Stanford. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

No. 17 UCLA (9-3, 6-3, Pac-12) at No. 8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1), 8 p.m. (Fox)

Line: Stanford by 8 ½.

Series Record: UCLA leads 35-45-3.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Everything both programs have worked for all year: the Pac-12 championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl. The loser will likely land in the Alamo Bowl as No. 6 Oregon (11-1, 8-1), with its only loss coming against North Division rival Stanford, is expected to take the conference's other BCS spot.

KEY MATCHUP

UCLA's run offense vs. Stanford's run defense. Stanford leads the nation is rushing defense (71.3 yards), sacks (4.4) and tackles for loss (9.2) per game. The Cardinal held Doak Walker Award finalist and UCLA's career rushing leader, Johnathan Franklin, to 73 rushing yards in a 35-17 victory over the Bruins in the regular-season finale last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

UCLA: QB Brett Hundley. The redshirt freshman quarterback has to be better — and get rid of the ball faster —than he did in the first go-around against Stanford. Hundley completed 20 of 38 passes for 261 yards and a TD with one interception while being sacked seven times.

Stanford: RB Stepfan Taylor. The senior is 35 yards shy of Darrin Nelson's school-rushing record of 4,169 yards. Taylor ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns last weekend at UCLA.

FACTS & FIGURES

Stanford and UCLA are the first opponents in major college football to play a regular-season finale and conference title game in consecutive weeks. ... Stanford has won four straight against the Bruins. ... Rain is forecast for most of Friday at Stanford Stadium, easing up slightly in the evening. ... Stanford has won eight straight and 19 of the past 20 home games. ... UCLA is going for its first conference championship since 1998, while Stanford is searching for its first league title since 1999. ... This is the second annual Pac-12 championship game. UCLA, with lame duck coach Rick Neuheisel, lost 49-31 at Oregon in last season's inaugural game.