Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
It was a fast start followed by mistakes, bad playcalling and it resulted in a halftime deficit for the Sun Devils.
It's an early start for Arizona State on Homecoming, as their critical Pac-12 battle against the UCLA Bruins started at noon.
Just like the start time, the action began early and continued throughout an exciting first half.
It started during the coin toss. UCLA won, but their captain elected to "kick" instead of "defer, which technically means ASU can choose to receive to open the second half. Jim Mora Jr. argued his case, and we'll see how well he did after halftime.
After an uninspiring first possession, Josh Hubner unleashed a beautiful 62-yard punt that was fumbled by Steven Manfro and recovered by the Sun Devils at the Bruin's 13-yard line. Two plays later, Taylor Kelly found Kevin Ozier for a seven-yard touchdown in the right flat.
The fast start continued following a UCLA three-and-out. DJ Foster ran for 30 yards on three carries, and Marion Grice had 37 yards from scrimmage, capped by his two-yard touchdown run to put the Sun Devils up 14-0.
However, UCLA then took advantage of Will Sutton's absence in the middle of the Sun Devil defense, the Bruins began pounding the ball with Johnathan Franklin, who amassed 42 of the Bruins' 75 yards on a drive that was ended by a Franklin touchdown run.
A three-and-out by the Sun Devils was followed by a 68-yard punt by Hubner—a career-long effort—that pinned the Bruins at their two. However, they again ran effectively and got a big assist from a questionable roughing the passer call on Junior Onyeali. Brett Hundley soon tossed a 15-yard touchdown to Devin Fuller on a slant to tie the game.
The Sun Devils answered back on the next drive, but not nearly as much as they should have. Kelly connected with Ozier again for what was a touchdown, but a holding call on Brice Schwab negated that. The team had to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Jon Mora to reclaim the lead.
A period of stalemate set in until the final two minutes.
After a good UCLA punt, ASU was backed up deep in their endzone. Kelly was pressured in the endzone, and got off a desperation pass to avoid the safety, but it was intercepted by Dalton Hilliard and returned to the ASU five. On the first play, Franklin ran it in for his second score of the year and their first lead, and that 21-17 score was how it was at the half.