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ASU & UCLA Both Earn Game Ball Awards After Close 45-43 Contest

Between Brett Hundley's hometown heroics, Johnathan Franklin's bruising running and Marion Grice's continued touchdown terror, awards were sent to Westwood and Tempe.


When the clock struck triple zero, UCLA went home to LA victorious while Sun Devil Nation left frustrated and ready to jump ship. The cross-state conference battle was high scoring and entertaining.

Although ASU lost, Taylor Kelly and his offense got back on track, posting 43 points. The glaring issue was the defense, who allowed 45 points and failedo make adjustments without Will Sutton.

Normally, we grant the winning team all the weekly accolades. In Saturday's scenario, both teams put on phenomenal shows. Therefore, I feel inclined to split up the rewards and not leave either party out.

Homecoming Hero

UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley returned home to Arizona in astonishing fashion. Hundley threw for 274 yards, four touchdowns with one interception.

The youngster from Chandler, Arizona, was heavily recruited by ASU. Ironically, coach Noel Mazzone was heading those efforts and obviously failed. Now, Mazzone and Hundley meet again, and the pairing appears solid.

Whenever players come back to their respective states, many aspire to put on big-time performances in front of friends and family. Hundley did exactly that.

On the season, Hundley has thrown for 2,190 yards, 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Another worthy note, he can burn opposing defenses with great athleticism, carrying the ball for 267 yards and five additional trips to pay dirt.

At 6-foot-3 and 223 pounds, Hundley is big enough to play linebacker but about quick enough to split out wide. His potential is endless, becoming a force in Pac-12 play for the foreseeable future.

Bruising Bruin

Johnathan Franklin is the real deal, totaling 164 yards and two scores against ASU, garnering the Bruising Bruin nickname. Through eight games, Franklin has accumulated 1,042 yards, fourth most among any FBS running back.

In the first half alone, Franklin already owned 97 yards. His patience and down hill approach was overwhelming.

The UCLA offensive balance keeps defenses on their toes and confused. Franklin has showed no signs of slowing down, consistently performing week in week out.

Going forward, it will be interesting to monitor how Franklin handles the heavy workload. His career high number of carries is 214, yet currently on pace for about 240.

Expect the senior California native to produce well on Sundays. Franklin will likely become UCLA's all-time leading rusher, only needing 21 more yards to surpass Gaston Green's 3,731 marker.

Touchdown Terror

ASU averages 38 plus points-per-contest, displaying the high-octane offense coach Todd Graham preaches. Inexperienced quarterback Taylor Kelly continues to develop, and his maintained success is key to fulfilling Mike Norvell's master plan.

72 of the Devil's 307 total points are from Touchdown Terror, Marion Grice. For anyone mathematically challenged (myself included) that would be 23.5 percent of all points come via Grice.

The numbers above are impressive and even more so for a third string running back. Grice still sees limited opportunities, sharing time with D.J. Foster and Cameron Marshall.

Grice's 12 touchdowns rank 17th in the nation, alongside Ohio State gunslinger Braxton Miller. Coming out of Blinn College, Grice was a highly touted juco prospect.

Since stepping foot onto campus, his transition has seemed flawless. Grice's great blend of speed and power is well documented, yet his elite receiving ability is rather surprising.

Running backs coach Larry Porter should attempt to give Grice the rock more often. Why? The shy and soft-spoken tail back is simply beastly!

If Grice continues this high production, expect the junior to be on next years Doak Walker award watch list.