It didn't take long for the Sun Devils to get on the board against UCLA in Pasadena on Saturday. Taylor Kelly orchestrated a seven-play 76-yard drive highlighted by a reverse to Rick Smith down to the UCLA 3-yard line and Kelly took care of the rest running in for a score with 12:26 remaining in the first quarter.
The Sun Devils were able to establish the run game early with read options kept by Taylor Kelly for big chunks of yardage. However the passing game struggled to get going.
The next ASU drive stalled after a deep shot to Richard Smith and Jaelen Strong respectively but the Bruins couldn't capitalize only advancing the ball 16 yards before giving the ball back to the Sun Devils.
The special teams woes for ASU continued as Ishmael Adams returned an Alex Garoutte punt 38 yards into Sun Devil territory. Although ASU was able to get the stop, Ka'imi Fairbairn put a 48-yard field goal through the uprights with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
The next 2:58 was all Sun Devils as Taylor Kelly led the team on an eight-play, 84-yard drive capped off by D.J. Foster's second rushing touchdown in as many weeks from three yards out to give ASU a 14-10 lead as the first quarter ended.
The team from Tempe out gained the Bruins 220-61 in the first quarter with Jaelen Strong racking up three catches for 58 yards.
ASU began right where it left off in the first quarter when Carl Bradford jumped a screen pass, picked off Brett Hundley and took it 19 yards to the house to put the Sun Devils up 21-10 with 14:56 left in the half. Bradford followed up on the next UCLA drive with another sack of Hundley to force UCLA to kick the field goal keeping Myles Jack in check after a 37-yard run to get UCLA deep into ASU territory. Ka'imi Fairbairn missed the 40-yard field goal wide left.
After a Davon Coleman sack forced another UCLA punt, the Sun Devils started with the ball on their own 31-yard line and drove the length of the field capped off by a quarterback sneak by Michael Eubank giving ASU a 28-10 lead. Yet another special teams miscue gave the Bruins great field position at the ASU 31-yard line. UCLA had first and goal but the Sun Devils were able to hold the Bruins to a field goal as UCLA cut the lead to 28-13 with 47 seconds left in the half.
A 23-yard rush by Taylor Kelly and a big Cameron Smith catch led to a 19-yard touchdown pitch and catch from Kelly to Jaelen Strong to round out the first half scoring and give the Sun Devils a 35-13 lead going into halftime.
ASU out gained UCLA 357 to 136 yards in the first half. Taylor Kelly leads all rushers with 84 yards on 14 attempts and is 11 of 16 passing for 149 yards and a touchdown. Jaelen Strong has five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown as well.
Stay tuned to House of Sparky after the game for complete coverage.