(14) UCLA vs. (17) ASU: 1st Half Notes

1st quarter

Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils struck first in Pasadena on Saturday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils struck first in Pasadena on Saturday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

-(15:00) the Sun Devils quickly showcase their offensive diversity in the first drive of the game: a pass play and six more rushing plays from three different players lead ASU to the end zone in 2:34, with the Bruins not knowing what hit them

-well here’s an early sign that this contest will become a barnburner: UCLA returns the subsequent kickoff to ASU’s 42, and seconds later Brett Hundley–whose performance today is as important as any–swiftly launches a pass 42 yards that lands in his receiver’s arms for a touchdown

-another key facet played a part in that last play as well: Hundley had sufficient time to drop back and comfortably look downfield–simply put, the Devils defensive line (that once seemed a strong point for the team) cannot give the Bruin quarterback that much time to throw

-(12:10) the Sun Devils retain their offensive fluidity for the first part of their next offensive series, racking up yards at will (32 yards on 4 plays to begin); but ASU is forced to punt thereafter, and the Bruins get the first of what will determine the victor of this game–defensive stops; (8:03) fortunately for the Devils, they force a punt as well on their own next defensive stand

-(5:11) as much as the offensive play of both teams will prove pivotal in this matchup, a more low-key aspect of the game, such as special teams, could tilt the advantage in either way–on this front, UCLA has won the battle thus far, especially after a 49-yard return off an ASU punt that sets up a field goal

-(3:30) the Sun Devils fiercely counter back, with Taylor Kelly leading the charge: the signal-caller compiles 55 yards through the air and 19 on the ground, on a drive that lasts 2:58 and gives his team a 14-10 lead to conclude the quarter

2nd quarter

Carl Bradford celebrates with a teammate after his pick-six. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Carl Bradford celebrates with a teammate after his pick-six. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

-a mere four seconds into the new quarter and ASU quickly pads its lead–linebacker Carl Bradford sneaks into the passing lane, picks off Hundley’s pass, and takes it in for a touchdown; this is quite the response for Bradford, whose spat with head coach Todd Graham had him sidelined for the 4th-quarter in last week’s game against Oregon State

-(12:00) Bradford continues his stellar play and rebound from last week, this time sacking opposing QB Brett Hundley, and in doing so playing a key part in stalling UCLA’s drive–jumpstarted by Myles Jack’s 37-yard scamper into ASU territory–but ending without a dent into ASU’s lead due to a field-goal miss

-(8:04) ASU’s powerful defensive line is making its presence felt more and more, forcing a Bruins three-and-out with two sacks of Hundley

-on the following offensive drive, the Sun Devils recapture their offensive effectiveness, methodically travelling down the field on 12 plays that cover 69 yards, capped by a gutsy 4th-down play from the 1-yard line that turns into a touchdown–and builds a 28-10 advantage for ASU; the drive highlights what the Devils have done all night, moving the ball nearly at will, and leading time of possession by about 10 minutes

-(0:47) UCLA continues to dominate the special teams facet of this game–a 69-yard return on a kickoff sets up another field goal for the Bruins; unfortunately, the efforts of UCLA’s returners will be to no avail if Hundley & Co. cannot find the end zone

-with under a minute remaining in the first-half, Taylor Kelly brilliantly manufactures another touchdown drive, catching the Bruins defense asleep along the way; after bursting through the middle of the field for a 23-yard run, Kelly throws two consecutive passes to the right of the field, the last of which results in a touchdown, giving ASU a 35-13 lead into halftime


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