(Photo: ASU Athletics)
It wasn’t easy, and it sure wasn’t pretty, but the Arizona State Sun Devils survived the UCLA Bruins to win it, 38-33, and clinch the Pac-12 South Championship.
It was over when: Carl Bradford and Davon Coleman sacked Brett Hundley on third and 30, on the last drive, with no timeouts left and only 30 seconds on the clock. The clock continued to run, the ball was snapped without Hundley paying attention and the Bruins went out with a thud, after nearly completing a miraculous comeback. ASU led 35-13 at halftime, but looked lost on both sides of the ball down the stretch before UCLA penalties backed them up on the final drive, and the Sun Devils got a big sack when they needed it.
Player of the Game: Chris Young was outstanding the entire night for ASU. The senior had 13 tackles, 12 solo, with 3 sacks, and led a defense that contained Hundley and the Bruins long enough to get a huge win.
Biggest Concern: The Sun Devils’ special teams units were horrific. Outside of Zane Gonzalez, who made his only field goal attempt and didn’t miss an extra point, UCLA dominated special teams. The Bruins averaged 32 yards per kickoff return, and started near or across midfield three times. Arizona State punter Alex Garoutte also fumbled a punt that was recovered inside the 20 by UCLA. The Sun Devils can forget about the Rose Bowl if they don’t fix these issues, and fast.
Unsung Hero: Davon Coleman has taken his game to the next level over the last month. He’s gone from an afterthought to a player who could be drafted in April, and he shined tonight. Coleman had 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, and finished the sack that sealed the game for the Sun Devils.
Stat of the Game: 9. The Sun Devils sacked Hundley nine times. The key was always going to be hitting Hundley, and the Sun Devils talked about it all week. But nobody expected Arizona State to get to the Bruin’s quarterback that much. When it mattered most, ASU did what they needed to do.
What’s Next: The Territorial Cup. Arizona State hosts Arizona on Saturday, November 30. If the Sun Devils win, they will host Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 7.
You can reach Jason Galvin on Twitter @Jason_Galvin or by email firstname.lastname@example.org