Arizona State came into their game with the UCLA Bruins needing a win to keep pace with the rest of the Pac-12 South teams. With their defeat of Utah the previous week, the Sun Devils had that “control your own destiny” tag all over them. UCLA on the other hand was playing for pride in the midst of Chip Kelly’s overhaul of their football program.
The Sun Devils can finish the season with eight wins if they win out the remainder of the season.
First, they had to deal with the UCLA Bruins.
Both teams were moving the ball relatively well in the first half of play.
Arizona State got on the board first with a 13 play, 60 yard drive that culminated in a 34 yard field goal by Brandon Ruiz.
With the Bruins coming into the game with not to much to play for you would think that the Sun Devils would try and put this game away early.
Not so much.
UCLA showed that they were not going to rollover for the Sun Devils.
Wilton Speight, UCLA quarterback, was playing well. The Bruin passing game was getting everything across the middle. Speight was gaining confidence with every completion.
The Sun Devils went into the half up 17-14.
Arizona State came out in the second half and tried to put the hammer down on UCLA. However, the Bruins were not about to go quiet into the desert sun. For every score that the Sun Devils put on the board, the Bruins matched them.
Sun Devil quarterback, Manny Wilkins, playing in his last home game for Arizona State showed that senior leadership that you would expect a player to show in their last home game. Wilkins was an efficient 16-22, 199 yards, and one touchdown. Manny Wilkins wasn’t the only offensive player to show up though.
Eno Benjamin. Get used to hearing his name.
Benjamin had 34 carries for 182 yards and one touchdown. He showed why he is considered one of the best young running backs in the country and the Pac-12 Conference. He also set the record for a Sun Devil running back in the Pac-12 era with rushing for over 1,238 yards so far this year.
Standout wide receiver, N’Keal Harry had 7 catches for 100 yards on Saturday afternoon as well. Hopefully the Sun Devil fans enjoyed watching him for possibly the last time. Harry, a junior, is expected to jump to the NFL after this season. N’Keal Harry should be a high draft pick as well.
UCLA is under a major reconstruction by Chip Kelly right now. To the Bruins credit, they showed a ton of fight on Saturday. Wilton Speight, quarterback of the Bruins, showed great poise today.
Speight was 26-35, 335 yards, and two touchdowns. As I stated earlier, Speight showed good confidence getting a lot of completions over the middle. Speight was getting a lot of time to throw and was taking advantage of that time.
Head coach Chip Kelly doesn’t have his type of players in the program just yet, so he is making do with what he has for the moment. Kelly will get his guys into UCLA and I think the Bruins should be good in the next couple of years. Lets hope UCLA fans stay patient.
For now, the Sun Devils look forward to a date with the Oregon Ducks next week in Eugene. After that, Arizona State finishes the season with their rival, Arizona.
The Sun Devils will enjoy this 31-28 win, but ASU knows that there is a ton of work left to do.