UCLA Over Arizona State: Sorting the Pac-12 Out

UCLA beat Arizona State

With Mike Bercovici starting for Taylor Kelly, things were bound to be difficult for Arizona State. The Sun Devils had a promising start, but eventually, Brett Hundley took over and got a huge boost from Ishmael Adams, returning an interceptions and a kick for touchdowns, helping the Bruins come away with a huge Pac-12 victory, 62-27.

These two teams battled it out for the South division title last season and Arizona State came out on top. This year, UCLA have been mentioned as the team to beat in this division, maybe even the conference. But Arizona State would have probably made more of a fight in this one if it was Taylor Kelly playing the game instead of Bercovici who had a promising start, but the Junior had two direct turnovers that led to touchdowns in what eventually turned out to be a blow out.

Brett Hundley made his return after leaving early in the win over Texas. The Heisman candidate according to what everyone is saying had a huge game to help his own individual cause with 355 passing yards and four touchdowns while throwing just five incompletions. He also ran for 72 yards and score a touchdown, putting the slow start behind him very quickly. UCLA trailed 17-6 in the beginning of the second quarter, but at some point, the mistakes started coming for Bercovici while Hundley was almost flawless form that moment.

Adams had himself a couple of touchdowns in the game. The cornerback returned one interception for a touchdown, running for 95 yards to give UCLA a 27-17 lead right before half time, and in the third quarter returned a kick off after a Sun Devils field goal for 100 yards, giving them a 41-20 lead, putting the game to bed. Jordan Payton had a 80-yard receiving touchdown at the beginning of the second half to make things worse for Arizona State.

Slowly and maybe a bit off the radar due to playing for UCLA, no longer a big-time program but slowly making their way back under Jim Mora, Hundley is putting together quite the impressive quarterback career. He had five completions and a touchdown on passes thrown for over 10 yards for the 13th time since 2012. He is one of six active FBS quarterbacks with at least 10 such games in that time span. With a 97.7 QBR according to ESPN, he had his sixth 90+ QBR of his career game.

UCLA fell down the ranking from #7 to #11 despite a 3-0 start. Now, as the conference play begins, they have their first marquee win which should send them back into the top 10 while Arizona State, #15 and 3-0 before the game including a Pac-12 win, will slide outside the top 20. The Bruins defense should also be mentioned, now scoring four defensive touchdowns this season, tied for the lead in the FBS. This year it feels different, but only after the games against Oregon, USC and Stanford will we know if they’re for real.

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