Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
The Arizona State Sun Devils had a tough loss against the UCLA Bruins, but Taylor Kelly, D.J. Foster and Marion Grice still look resilient enough to move on with their season. Rich Gray of Bold Saguaros and Brad Denny of House of Sparky explain.
What most disappointed you about this weekend's loss to UCLA?
Rich Gray, Bold Saguaros: The play calling, highlighted by having Taylor Kelly drop back in his own end zone to close the half that resulted in a pick. It seems like OC Mike Norvell was out-thinking himself on Saturday. Instead of sticking with what worked, ASU tried to do too much offensively and I feel like they let UCLA back in the game.
The secondary was a glaring weakness at the start of the season and it's starting to be exposed. Some of that has to do with the injuries to Will Sutton and Junior Onyeali (the pass rush just isn't there), but at the same time, ASU didn't play an offense ranked in the top 50 until Oregon and UCLA. That problem is going to be a bigger issue when you look at the remaining schedule. Oregon State, USC, Washington State and Arizona all rank in top 25 in passing yards per game.
Brad Denny, House of Sparky: Clinging to a one-point lead at home with 1:33 left in the game, the Sun Devil defense was unable to hold back the Bruins. UCLA drove 60 yards in 12 plays during that span to set up the game-winning field goal. For a defense that had been excellent until the Will Sutton injury, the performance without the All-American contender has been disturbing.
Is there anything encouraging to take away from the UCLA game?
Rich Gray, Bold Saguaros: For me, the most encouraging thing was ASU being able to rally back and take the lead. In years past the Sun Devils would have quit, especially under Dennis Erickson. But Todd Graham and his staff made sure that didn't happen.
However, the Sun Devils missed out on another opportunity to take advantage in the Pac-12 South. ASU and UCLA go after the same players in recruiting. Saturday was a missed chance to show the kids of Los Angeles this is a different Sun Devil team. Thrown in Arizona's upset over USC and Graham and company may fall behind recruiting in California.
Brad Denny, House of Sparky: Overshadowed by the defensive collapse was a pretty impressive day by the Sun Devil offense. Aside from one ill-advised Taylor Kelly interception, ASU was able to score 43 points and gain 535 yards. Kelly was impressive, especially on the game's penultimate drive, in which he led for the then go ahead touchdown. Running backs DJ Foster and Marion Grice continue to show they are the team's best runners and receivers.