The PAC-12 conference toted out some great match-ups, and Arizona State-UCLA was no different.
This game pinned the 19th ranked team in the country against the 14 ranked team, and Arizona State could clinch a South Division title with a win over the Bruins. Arizona State came out firing early, as quarterback Taylor Kelly used his legs to run in a 3 yard touchdown, and took an early 7-0 lead with over 12 minutes to go in the first. Brett Hundley and the Bruins wouldn’t waste much time answering, and Hundley hit Devin Lucien on a 42 yard touchdown pass just 16 seconds after the Sun Devils scored.
The scoring would slow after that, and UCLA would be the next team to get on the board with a field goal with just 3 minutes left in the first. Arizona State would answer late in the quarter with a touchdown run from D.J. Foster.
In the second quarter, Arizona State would score early on a pick-six from Brett Hundley, and then there would be a lack of an offensive show. The Sun Devils led 21-10 for most of the 2nd quarter, and neither team could move the ball well. ASU scored another touchdown on a Michael Eubank run, and their lead would blossom to 18 points, and the PAC-12 title game was in reach. UCLA managed to muster up another field goal, but Arizona State scored on a touchdown pass from Taylor Kelly to Jaelen Strong with 5 seconds left. ASU led 35-13 at the half.
In the third quarter, UCLA would have a strong performance on the defensive side of the ball, and after giving up 35 points in the first 30 minutes, they held the Sun Devils to just 3 points in the quarter. They moved the ball well on offense as well, and got two touchdowns on the ground to draw within striking distance, and make it a game again. The score was 38-27 heading to the final quarter.
There was more defensive fun for the two combatants, and UCLA would score the only touchdown on a Brett Hundley pass to Shaquille Evans with 11:25 to go in the game. UCLA would get the ball back with a few minutes left, and a chance to win the game. They trailed by only 5, but they couldn’t get anything going on their final 2 drives, and the game would go to Arizona State–38-33.
Taylor Kelly managed the game well for ASU, going 20 for 27 for 226 yards and a touchdown. He showed off his ability to run, and was the game’s leading rusher with 97 yards on the ground, and a touchdown as well. He out-dueled Brett Hundley, as the Bruin quarterback went 18 of 26 for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he would throw the game’s only interception that was returned for a touchdown, and that was the difference in the game. The Sun Devils had 1 turnover as well, but it wasn’t as costly as UCLA’s. This game had a lot of points scored, but it had a defensive feel to it. Arizona State had 458 yards of total offense to UCLA’s 404, and both teams were terrible on 3rd down. UCLA went 3 for 12, and the Sun Devils went just 4 for 12. UCLA lost the penalty war as well, racking up 40 yards on 5 penalties, compared to ASU’s 4 penalties for just 26 yards. UCLA couldn’t get the run game going from their QB, as Brett Hundley ran for just 5 yards on 17 carries, and they averaged just 3.7 yards per carry.
Arizona State wins the South Division title with the 38-33 win, and with a victory over Arizona next week, they could face Stanford on their home field in 2 weeks. UCLA and USC are now eliminated from the PAC-12 Championship race, halting coach Orgeron’s chances at a miracle trip. Arizona State moves to 9-2 on the season, and UCLA falls to 8-3. The PAC-12 has been a fun conference to watch, and there is still some football to be played. UCLA takes on USC next week, and Arizona State takes on the aforementioned Arizona, who upset Oregon on Saturday.