It's deja vu for Sun Devil fans.
Last year, Alex Garoutte missed a field goal at the end of the game in Arizona State's loss. This year, the Devils were on the other side, as UCLA was able to drive down the field and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired in the Bruins' 45-43 win.
The action started early, when UCLA's captain said "kickoff" instead of "defer" after winning the coin toss. That gave ASU the option of receiving both opening kickoffs.
After a three-and-out to open the game, a magnificent punt by Josh Hubner was fumbled by Steven Manfro and recovered by ASU. That was quickly converted with a Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier touchdown pass. The lead was soon doubled on a drive spearheaded by DJ Foster and Marion Grice, and the latter capped the drive with a two-yard scoring run.
The absence of ASU star defensive tackle Will Sutton was sorely felt on the next drive, as UCLA was able to run up the middle very effectively. Johnathan Franklin scored from three yards out, and on theur next drive, again aided by effective running, quarterback Brett Hundley found Devin Fuller on a slant for a 15-yard, game-tying touchdown.
The exciting first quarter gave way to a mistake-ridden second period. ASU had a second Ozier touchdown reception negated by a Brice Schwab hold, and had to settle for a 36-yard Jon Mora field goal.
That 17-14 margin looked to hold for the remainder of the half, but after a great UCLA punt pinned ASU deep, the Sun Devils dialed up some questionable play calling with just over a minute left. Kelly dropped back into his own endzone and was swarmed by defenders He tossed up a desperation pass that was easily intercepted and returned to the ASU five-yard line. On the next play, Franklin ran it in for the go-ahead touchdown to give the Bruins a 21-17 halftime lead.
Thanks to the "kick" versus "defer" blunder by UCLA, ASU received the second half kickoff as well. Led by a 49-yard catch-and-run by Foster, ASU managed to drive for a field goal, this time a 31-yarder by Mora to cut the lead to one.
ASU then made a wise decision: Give the ball to Foster and Grice. Foster had 37 yards from scrimmage, and Grice took a screen 20 yards for a touchdown. Todd Graham gambled and went for two, but the pass from Kelly was broken up, keeping the Sun Devils behind 28-26.
Unfortunately, the Sun Devils defense gave it up. Deveron Carr was beaten on two passes to allow the Bruins to get to the ASU two-yard line, and on the next play he allowed a touchdown on a great one-handed catch by Joseph Fauria, despite Carr getting called for pass interference.
The Sun Devil defense was able to get a rare stop, and the offense converted. Grice struck again, catching a short pass from Kelly and broke some tackles on the way to an eight-yard touchdown to bring ASU within two at 35-33.
However, the field position battle would soon cost ASU. A quick three-and-out deep in their own territory gave UCLA a short field, and a 31-yard run by Franklin set up Hundley's fourth touchdown pass of the day, and second to Thigpen, thanks to blown coverage by Chris Young.
ASU managed a field goal to cut it to 42-36, and then forced a UCLA punt after Brandon Magee made a huge sack. Taking over at their 44, Kelly had an incredible 31 yard run to take it inside the UCLA 15. Facing a third and six, Kelly evaded pressure, ran right and found a leaping Foster for the go ahead touchdown.
There was a touchback on the ensuing kickoff and UCLA began from their 25. Over 12 plays, the Bruins drove down to the ASU 15, where Ka'i Fairbairn kicked a 33-yard field goal for the win as time expired.
ASU (5-3, 3-2) now falls into a second-place tie in the South division with UCLA (6-2, 3-2).
News and Notes
- Franklin finished with 164 yards and two touchdowns
- ASU outgained UCLA 535 to 486.
- For the second straight week, ASU defensive end Junior Onyeali left the game with a shoulder injury.
- Deveron Carr made his first interception since 2010.
- Defensive tackle Mike Pennel made his return to the lineup after his suspension
- Josh Hubner's 73-yard punt in the first half was a career-high