(14) UCLA vs. (17) ASU: 2nd Half Notes

3rd Quarter

A mishandled snap gave UCLA momentum in the 2nd half. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

A mishandled snap gave UCLA momentum in the 2nd half. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

-UCLA quickly seizes control of the quarter: after Brett Hundley guides his team to an opening-drive touchdown relying predominantly on pass plays, the Bruins get their share of good fortune–ASU suffers a punting gaffe, that sets UCLA up in the red zone; a few plays later, the Bruins capitalize and reduce their opponent’s lead even further to 35-27

-(7:57) putting their special teams mistake behind them, the Devils then go on another lengthy offensive drive–eating up nearly seven minutes on 13 plays–that results in a field goal, cushioning Arizona State’s lead

-the Bruins usually strike quickly on their scoring-drives, but there’s no question that ASU’s significant advantage in time of possession has proved essential to its current lead; not only does it keep UCLA’s prolific offense off the field, but it gives the Sun Devils a psychological edge as well

4th Quarter

-(11:25) Brett Hundley engineers another touchdown drive (beginning in the 3rd quarter) in which the air attack is emphasized once again; the series also includes a gutsy 4th-down call around midfield–UCLA converts, sustaining the drive that would eventually reap five points (a failed two-point conversion makes the score 38-33 ASU)

-following a punt after just five offensive plays, the Sun Devils defense has become noticeably worn out, and is missing more and more tackles on its next defensive stand; yet despite the Bruins tearing through ASU’s defense, their drive stalls and ultimately yields no points–after reaching the Sun Devil seven-yard line, Hundley gets sacked for the sixth time, leading to the Bruins’s second missed field-goal of the day (4:38)

-Arizona State is unable to keep the ball long enough to run out the clock on their next possession, punting the ball to the Bruins who have 3:21 to overcome a 38-33 deficit–more than possible with UCLA’s rapidly explosive offense

-the most important offensive drive of the season for the Bruins starts with a familiar feeling–a sack of Brett Hundley; the quarterback passes his way to a first down, but the Sun Devil pass rush/defensive front has already made its mark: UCLA’s offensive line commits two consecutive holding penalties because of quarterback pressure, and after a few incomplete passes and yet another sack, the Bruins turn the ball over on downs (0:05)

Todd Graham notched his signature win at ASU on Saturday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Todd Graham notched his signature win at ASU on Saturday night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Postgame:

  • what better way to win a Pac-12 South clinching game, than to do so with the defensive line and pass rush–that has certainly underwhelmed this year–finally coming to life
  • Sun Devil quarterback Taylor Kelly continues to prove how underrated he truly is, this time thoroughly out-dueling the more popularized and celebrated Brett Hundley, the opposing quarterback; Kelly also finally proved his top-rate ability in a high-profile game on a national stage
  • this win is easily ASU head coach Todd Graham’s signature victory of his tenure at the university, coming only in his second year with the team
  • though they have secured a spot in the Pac-12 championship, the Sun Devils cannot let up now–by beating in-state rival Arizona Wildcats a week from today, Arizona State would then host the conference championship at home, meaning a much better opportunity to clinch an elusive Rose Bowl bid
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