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ASU Football: "12 Plays of Christmas" No. 6 Jaelen Strong provides the final push

Who would have guessed that a Jaelen Strong score to end the first half in blowout fashion would eventually become the touchdown that clinched a narrow Pac-12 South deciding victory?

Perhaps Jaelen was pointing at the scoreboard.
Perhaps Jaelen was pointing at the scoreboard.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

When Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong reeled in his 19-yard touchdown pass to end the first half against UCLA, it officially seemed the route was on in the Rose Bowl. But when everything was said and done, that score would ultimately provide just enough points for the Sun Devils to pull it out.

Play No. 6: Jaelen Strong scores with five seconds remaining in the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins

2 Points: The play changed the momentum of a game

3 Points: They play occurred in a Sun Devil victory

5 Points: The play was a Sun Devil touchdown

10 Points: The play led to the Pac-12 South-clinching win against UCLA

Total: 18 points

This Taylor Kelly to Strong connection gave Arizona State a commanding 35-13 lead heading into the locker room. And with how dominant the Devils appeared in the first half, few realized the relevancy of this touchdown at the time.

UCLA began the second half by scoring 14 unanswered. A Zane Gonzalez field goal would stop that streak but once again, the Bruins would find pay dirt on the following drive.

Yet, as we all know all to well, that's where the scare would end. The Arizona State defense held strong on the UCLA's final two and the Sun Devils road out of Pasadena with a Pac-12 South title.

The moral of the story? None of it would have been possible without Strong's seemingly extravagant touchdown.

Kelly and the Sun Devils drove 62 yards in just 35 seconds to make it happen at the end of the first half. A 23-yard Kelly scamper. A 20-yard Cameron Smith reception. And then, Strong's cherry on top.

But while this was Strong's most important play of the season, it certainly wasn't his flashiest. And that speaks volumes about his big play abilities.