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ASU vs. UCLA: Sun Devils lead 15-10 at halftime

The Sun Devil defense is firing on all cylinders at the Rose Bowl.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

PASADENA, Calif. -- Arizona State's defense used its best half of the season to help the Sun Devils take a 15-10 lead into the locker rooms at No. 7 UCLA.

Both offenses struggled on their first possessions of the afternoon, going three and out with little success. Arizona State used a 28-yard completion to D.J. Foster and a 9-yard carry by Kalen Ballage on its next drive to get deep into UCLA territory, but an errant snap on third down forced Zane Gonzalez to attempt a 44 yard field goal. The try went wide right, keeping the game scoreless.

The defensive units dominated over the next few drives, forcing four punts in a total of four minutes. The last punt gave the Bruins the ball at their own 16-yard line, where they promptly lost three yards on two plays and then were flagged for intentional grounding. Since Josh Rosen was inside the end zone when he finally got rid of the ball, the penalty incurred a safety and gave the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead.

Tim White bobbled the ensuing kick but managed to pick up the ball and run 63 yards to the UCLA 31. Three plays later it was White again, using his blockers to find the end zone on a 12-yard screen pass from Mike Bercovici. The ensuing extra point made it 9-0 after the first quarter.

The Bruins got into maroon and gold territory for the first time on their next possession thanks to a defensive pass interference call. A 14-yard completion to Thomas Duarte got them into fringe field goal range, but a holding penalty on the next play promptly took them back out. The drive then stalled after two incompletions and a D.J. Calhoun sack.

Both teams traded three and outs after that, Arizona State eventually getting the ball back on its own 4-yard line after a perfect punt by Adam Searl. Demario Richard quickly got his team out of trouble, however, scampering 15 yards into the UCLA secondary on the first play of the drive.

Todd Graham dove deep into the playbook two plays later, calling for a direct snap to running back Jacom Brimhall on 2nd and 7. Brimhall managed to push forward for three yards, but the Sun Devils were forced to punt after an overthrow by Bercovici on third down.

The Bruins finally got something going on their next drive, marching 88 yards in just under two and a half minutes to break the maroon and gold's shutout attempt. The big drive was set up by a 50-yard completion to Stephen Johnson, and a 13-yard pass to Duarte on the very next play made the score 9-7.

Arizona State answered nicely on its ensuing drive, sparked by a 47-yard kick return from White. The march stalled after back-to-back incompletions in the end zone, but Gonzalez connected on a 31-yarder to extend the lead at 12-7.

The Sun Devil offense was right back on the field less than a minute later thanks to a Laiu Moeakiola interception just past midfield. This time Bercovici and company got all the way inside the UCLA seven yard line, but poor execution in the red zone hurt them once again.

Gonzalez made sure the turnover didn't go entirely to waste, making a 25 yard field goal to give the maroon and gold a 15-7 advantage. UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn answered with a 53-yard make as time expired to make the score 15-10 at the half.