UCLA vs. Arizona State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Bruins and Sun Devils.
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
It seemed as though the Bruins had bounced back well with two wins following their Week 1 loss in College Station, but a 22-13 loss to Stanford two weeks ago got UCLA’s Pac-12 play off to a bad start. To the Bruins’ credit, they were able to rebound again this past weekend with a win over Arizona, 45-24. UCLA only trailed for about two minutes in that game. It took the lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Arizona State has seen its season unfold a little bit differently. After running through their three non-conference opponents, the Sun Devils capped off the first month of the season by beating Cal to open up league play. This past weekend didn’t go so well, as October kicked off with a 41-20 loss to USC.
The Sun Devils took last season’s matchup with the Bruins in Pasadena, 38-23. However, the all-time series is in favor of UCLA, 19-12-1
What To Know About UCLA
(Slow clap) Now, that’s the Josh Rosen we’ve been waiting to see. He completed 20-of-37 passes, and lit up Arizona for 350 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore signal caller hooked up with Darren Andrews nine times for 108 yards. Rosen also connected with Kenneth Walker III four times for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
The one thing that can’t happen for Jim Mora’s team, though, is Soso Jamabo rushing six times for -12 yards. UCLA needs to get Jamabo into space, and he has to see more than six carries. Granted, Nate Starks was given 17 carries, and he racked up 80 yards with one touchdown, but still, Jamabo needs to see more touches.
What to Know About Arizona State
Manny Wilkins is doubtful for this matchup with a foot injury, and that’s a problem for the Sun Devils. That means redshirt freshman Brady White could get his first career start. Not having Wilkins is a big deal because he can move the chains with his legs and his arm. He’s the third-leading rusher on the team, and he’s thrown for 1,233 yards. One way White can separate himself is by taking care of the ball. Wilkins has five passing touchdowns to four interceptions this season.
If White can get the ball to Tim White and N’Keal Harry in space, that will open up running lanes for Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard. Richard leads Arizona State with 374 rushing yards, but Ballage leads the team with 10 total touchdowns — nine on the ground.
Offense: UCLA – If you have the choice between a redshirt freshman about to make his first start and Josh Rosen, you’re taking Rosen every time.
Defense: UCLA – The Bruins are allowing 356 yards of total offense per game, and Arizona State has the worst passing defense in the nation (396.4 yards/game).
Special Teams: Arizona State – Zane Gonzalez is 22-of-23 on extra points and 13-of-14 on field goal attempts. With White, Ballage and D.J. Calhoun in the return game, the Sun Devils get the edge.
Coaching: UCLA – Jim Mora knows what he’s doing, and he’s working with a highly intelligent, young quarterback in Rosen. With Kennedy Polamalu by Mora’s side, UCLA gets the nod.
Matchup To Watch
Josh Rosen vs. Brady White
What we have here is a matchup of two quarterbacks. They’re close in age but are in two completely different spots in their careers. Rosen was given the keys to the UCLA offense last year, and White is being thrust into the job because of Wilkins’ injury. Rosen is coming off a huge game, and it will be interesting to see if he can match that this weekend. As for White, Arizona State would be smart to cater the playbook toward the halfbacks. Todd Graham is going to want to give White some short, easy throws to make early on to get his rhythm going. White doesn’t need to match what Rosen does. All he needs to do is what the Sun Devils ask him to do: hand the ball off and don’t throw picks.
Spread: UCLA -10
UCLA vs. Arizona State Prediction
UCLA won’t give Jamabo a huge workload this weekend either, but he will have a few more touches and find some running room early on. He and Starks will share carries and set the stage for Rosen to step up and deliver some big-time throws. The Bruins will take the lead and head into halftime with it. The Bruins will dare White to throw the ball, and he’ll do well enough to open the box up a little bit. That will create some holes for Ballage and Richard. The Sun Devils will keep pace with UCLA, but the Bruins will hang on for the win in the end.
UCLA vs. Arizona State Score Prediction: UCLA 31, Arizona State 24