Eds. This is the second half recap on top of the first half recap. We will have further analysis with quotes later tonight
The Bruins started the second half just like they ended the first. Brett Hundley connected with Jordan Payton on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
On the next drive, Jaelen Strong helped Arizona State over the 50 with a 19-yard reception. Deantre Lewis spun out of a tackle to convert a 4th down and an 18-yard pass to Kalen Ballage had the Sun Devils down inside the UCLA 10-yard line. A pass completed to D.J. Foster wasn't enough for a first down and Zane Gonzalez knocked one through the uprights from 24-yards out with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
UCLA answered right back on the ensuing kickoff on a 100-yard return for a touchdown to put the Bruins up 41-20 and it got worse on the next drive. Bercovici fumbled at the Arizona State 32-yard line and UCLA capitalized on another mistake with a run from freshman Nate Starks from one yard out after a 22-yard run from Hundley.
The Sun Devils finally got their first touchdown since 14:24 in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ellis Jefferson, going 75 yards in 11 plays to cut the Bruins lead to 48-27. The Sun Devils started the next drive on their own 2-yard line and slowly chipped themselves out of the hole with Bercovici completing a 27-yard pass to De'Marieya Nelson and a 16-yard grab by Strong put the Sun Devils over midfield. Desperation got the best of the maroon and gold down 21-points in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over on downs.
An awful display of tackling allowed UCLA wide receiver to scamper 42 yards down to the Arizona State 14-yard line and Hundley connected with Payton again for a 4-yard touchdown with 10:32 to play which put the Bruins up 55-27. It was the most points Arizona State had given up in a game since Nov. 9, 2002 when it gave up 55 against USC. As the Sun Devils began to put in their second team skill players, they were able to drive down the field. An 18-yard run by Demario Richard helped but the Sun Devils couldn't take advantage on fourth and one from the one when Kalen Ballage got stuffed.
As UCLA took over on their own 4-yard line, Paul Perkins rushed 81 yards down to the Arizona State 15 yard line. Three plays later, Hundley ran in a quarterback keeper from a yard out to put the Bruins up 62-27 with 4:29 to play.
As the UCLA chants began to drown out "ASU", the Sun Devils turned it over on downs near midfield and Hundley a couple of knees to seal the Arizona State loss.
Back and forth the first half went, with plenty of action on both sides.
Jaelen Strong clearly doesn't care who the quarterback is, he'll catch a back-shoulder fade regardless. Bercovici hit him with a 14-yarder on his first third-down play. It moved the chains, and a few players, sophomore kicker Zane Gonzalez booted a 49-yard field goal, the longest of his career, put the Sun Devils up 3-0.
On the ensuing drive, Arizona State forced a punt, but D.J. Foster fumbled on the first play of the drive. Once again, the Sun Devil defense showed up, stopping UCLA, sacking Brett Hundley on 3rd-and-6 from the 13-yard line. Junior Ka'imi Fairbairn tied the game with a 36-yard field goal with 6:53 left in the opening quarter.
The next drive was when Bercovici shed the jitters. A 25-yard dart to Strong put the Sun Devils at the 22-yard line, then a screen to Foster put them at the 6. Two plays later, Bercovici took the snap, kept his eyes focused on the right side, where everyone thought he was going. Everyone expect redshirt sophomore tight end Kody Kohl, who ran left and had no one within yards of him.
It was Kohl's first career touchdown reception, and the first touchdown of the season to an Arizona State tight end. 10-3 Arizona State.
The last thing a team wants to do is give up big plays right after a touchdown, but that's exactly what happened. UCLA junior Ishmael Adams returned the kickoff 44 yards. On the very next play, Hundley hit sophomore receiver Thomas Duarte 43 yards, which put UCLA in the red zone.
And for the second straight drive that included the ball at Arizona State's 13-yard line, the defense came up big. Two small plays set up a third down, Duarte got to the flats and looked ready to break for at least a first down, but junior safety Jordan Simone stuffed him and the Bruins settled for another field goal to make it 10-6.
Then Bercovici took over. He orchestrated an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended in a perfect 29-yard bomb into double coverage to sophomore wideout Cameron Smith. It was 17-6, and the Sun Devils looked a like a team who thought they could beat the big bad Bruins.
That is until the Bruins penetrated the Arizona State defense in a seamless way, when redshirt freshman Eldridge Massington took a quick route and ran it 80 yards to the house to make it 17-13. The Sun Devils had had a great game tackling until that point, but redshirt sophomore Salamo Fiso and two others missed badly, and it cost them.
Bercovici appeared to be in control, moving the ball with ease and even running for 12 yards. He found Strong deep downfield one-on-one, normally a safe bet, but this time the jump ball favored the defense, as UCLA redshirt sophomore safety Anthony Jefferson came down with the interception.
At that point, what looked like a shootout turned into a battle of the punters. They traded boots for a few drives, until Hundley showed why he's one of the best in the nation. He completed four passes for 39 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore fullback Nate Iese and even ran for 21 yards. In all, it was a 90-yard drive eating 3:10 of clock and giving the Bruins the 20-17 lead. It was the first time all season the Sun Devils trailed in a game.
Arizona State got the ball back with enough time to move the down field. Bercovici and Strong connected on two-straight back-shoulder passes for 29 yards combined, moving the team across midfield. The drive appeared dead when Bercovici overthrew his man on a third-down play, but a defensive holding kept the drive alive.
The Bruins, as it turned out, benefitted from the holding. The drive continued long enough for Bercovici to hit UCLA cornerback Ishmael Adams, who took it 95 yards all the way back, and UCLA finished the half with a dagger of a pick-six, going up 27-17.