Wins have come at a premium in coach Chip Kelly's first season at UCLA. The Bruins' third and most recent, however, provides a springboard for their 2018 finale against Stanford.
UCLA (3-8, 3-5 Pac-12) ended three-game losing skids both on the season, and in its past three meetings against rival USC, in a 34-27 win last Saturday at Rose Bowl Stadium.
"One of the main things I learned at Michigan was when you win, you represent the guys you're playing with, you represent the coaching staff, (and you represent) all of the players and coaches that came before you, and all of the players and coaches that are going to come in the future," said Bruins quarterback Wilton Speight.
"That's what this win was about ... for all the Bruins that came before us in the rich history of this football program."
The Bruins have an opportunity to put one final stamp on 2018 that both ends a recent string of frustrations, and establishes a foundation for the future. UCLA hosts Stanford on Saturday, an opponent that has dominated the series over the past decade.
The Cardinal (6-4, 4-3) is a winner of 10 straight over the Bruins, including three of the last four by at least two touchdowns. Stanford is also coming in off an impromptu bye week. Its rivalry matchup against Cal was postponed until Dec. 1, due to poor air quality in northern California as a result of the Camp Fire.
Stanford's fortunes in the series of late have been due in part to standout performances from star running backs. Last season, Bryce Love rushed for 263 yards in a 58-34 Cardinal romp.
This time around, however, UCLA comes in boasting the most productive ball-carrier between the two teams for this season. Joshua Kelley set a UCLA-USC series record with his 289 yards in last week's win.
Kelley heads into the season finale with 1,188 yards for the season nearly 200 more than UCLA gained as a team in 2016. The Bruins' sharp uptick in rushing production may be the most dramatic departure from recent seasons in the first year under Kelly's staff.
"It's really a testament to the offensive line," Kelly said. "Those guys fought hard. We embrace running the football here."