Thanks to a stellar first half and second half that was barely good enough, Arizona State went into Pasadena, California and snatched the Pac-12 South Championship away from UCLA, celebrating in the Rose Bowl.
But that was last year, and this is this year. A UCLA team with realistic national championship aspirations will make its way to Tempe on September 25th for a Thursday night showdown with Arizona State. Here are a few players from UCLA to watch out for.
Offense: Brett Hundley (6-foot-3, 227 pounds)
Hundley enters his redshirt junior season as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and he's the best signal caller that the Sun Devils will take on this year. He has thrown for at least 3,000 yards in both seasons he's been at the helm of the UCLA offense and was efficient too, throwing for 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions in 2013. Hundley's also dangerous outside of the pocket, rushing for 11 touchdowns last season. Hundley's game is a game of pick-your-poison: Rush the passer and watch him tear up your secondary, or load up on defensive backs and watch him run for a first down.
Offense/Defense: Myles Jack (6-foot-1, 230)
It's hard to accurately describe Jack. A two-way player in high school, Jack committed to UCLA with the intention of playing linebacker, and he started 11 games at that position in his freshman year. But due to injuries on the running back front, coach Jim Mora was forced to insert a defensive player in the offense, and Jack got the call, and he found a way to excel on both fronts. Jack racked up 75 tackles in his freshman campaign, and then rushed for seven touchdowns. His efforts on both sides of the ball earned him both the Offensive and Defensive Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award, voted on by the coaches in the conference. Jack is expected to stay on the defensive side of the ball this year, and he has a chance to be elite at the linebacker spot. But if and when Jim Mora needs an offensive spark, Jack can provide that.
Offense: Jordan Payton (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) and Devin Fuller (6 feet, 198 pounds)
In 2013, UCLA's biggest aerial threat was Shaquelle Evans. But with Evans gone to the NFL, The Bruins will have to account for his 81 targets, and the combination of Payton and Fuller are their best bet. Payton offers a deep threat out wide while Fuller does his damage from the slot, but both players are dangerous in their own right. They combined to make up for roughly 30 percent of Hundley's targets in 2013, and if they can each take a step forward it will open up the offense for Hundley and the rest of the Bruins.
Defense: Eric Kendricks (6-feet, 230 pounds)
Kendricks burst onto the scene as a redshirt sophomore in 2012, announcing himself as a tackling machine in a game at Sun Devil Stadium where he compiled 17 tackles. He continued to grow in 2013, leading the team with 106 tackles, although he missed two games due to injury. Still, judging by the 150 tackles he racked up in 2012 it's clear that Kendricks is an elite linebacker that could wreck the game for Arizona State.