(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
PASADENA, Calif. — It was a back-and-forth first half between UCLA and ASU, with the Sun Devils entering the break up 21-20 on the Bruins.
Quarterback Josh Rosen started off slow for UCLA, finishing 2-of-7 on the first drive of the game and appearing out of sync with his receivers. ASU scored first midway through the first quarter on a 7-yard pass from Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry in the back of the end zone.
The Sun Devils were able to establish the run early on, opening up the field and setting up plenty of opportunities for play action. A 2-yard run by Demario Richard, who finished the half with 14 carries for 83 yards, gave ASU a 14-0 lead with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Minutes later, momentum shifted in favor of the Bruins. Wilkins’s pass was tipped in the air and returned 27 yards for a touchdown by UCLA’s Nate Meadors. That play made it 14-7 through one quarter of play.
Rosen and the UCLA offense found their momentum early in the second quarter. After multiple chunk plays on the ground and through the air, Rosen scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to tie the game 14-14.
The Sun Devils responded with a meticulous, ground-and-pound drive in which they ran exclusively run plays. Wilkins capped it off by hurdling into the end zone on a 16-yard run, giving ASU a 21-14 lead with 7:55 left in the half.
A 31-yard field goal by JJ Molson brought UCLA within four as its defense began to clamp down on the Sun Devils. Molson tacked on a 38-yarder late in the quarter to make it a one-point game, with neither team able to score for the final 3:49 of the frame.
ASU will receive to start the second half, hoping to reignite its offensive momentum.