Just like last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils suffered an embarrassing defeat against the USC Trojans. Then, they faced their cross-town rival, the UCLA Bruins. The Sun Devils were victorious over the then-No. 7 Bruins, spoiling their so far undefeated season in a 38-23 win.
Unlike last season, UCLA has not earned the respect to be ranked, but are still one of the most dangerous opponents in the country. The Bruins have lost to two top-15 teams in No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 15 Stanford, while the Sun Devils have yet to compete against a ranked team this season.
UCLA is 9-5 all time in Tempe and will look to continue its success in Sun Devil Stadium with its well-balanced offense and a defense that ranks fourth-best in the Pac-12.
Players to Watch
QB Josh Rosen
The four-star recruit was the second best quarterback in the nation in the 2015 recruiting class. Now, he is arguably the best sophomore quarterback in the nation. At 6-foot-4, he can see the field and uses his arm strength to command UCLA’s pro-style offense. His stats this year aren’t exactly pretty. Just eight touchdowns with four interceptions has been a slow start for Rosen, but he hit the switch in Pac-12 play. Against No. 15 Stanford and Arizona, Rosen has combined for four touchdowns, 598 passing yards and no interceptions. Rosen should eclipse his 2015 3,670 passing yard season this year and have plenty of success against Arizona State’s pass defense that ranks at dead last in the nation.
RB SoSo Jamabo
It’s tough to replace former UCLA running back Paul Perkins, but the sophomore has emerged as a big-time back for the Bruins. When a 6-foot-2, 210-pound football player can run a 4.40 40-yard-dash, he’s dangerous, and that is exactly why ASU needs to watch out for Jamabo. Jamabo has actually seen his playing time decline over the last few weeks in place of junior Nate Starks and sophomore Bolu Olorunfunmi. All three running backs have at least 140 yards and a touchdown this season. UCLA will use this ground attack trio all game against the Sun Devils.
LB Kenny Young
UCLA has history of developing NFL linebackers, having recently produced two great Minnesota Vikings players in Erick Kendricks and Anthony Barr. Young, a junior, could be the next Bruins linebacker to be a menace at the next level. Standing at 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, Young has been crucially productive for the Bruins this season. He leads the team with three sacks and has a 40-yard interception to go with it. Last game against Arizona, Young led the team in tackles and earned a sack. Mora explained that Young has gained a huge boost of confidence as he’s accounted for 25 tackles in the past three games.
WR Kenneth Walker III
The senior exploded last week against Arizona with four catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Walker and Rosen have already connected for 299 yards this season including a 62-yard score that sent the Bruins into overtime against Texas A&M. Walker has seen more playing time this season than any before in his UCLA career and has nicely filled a big role offensively.