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ASU Football: Positional Grades vs. UCLA

The Sun Devils earned a hard-fought win against the Bruins.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State is now tied for the lead in the Pac-12 South, after defeating the UCLA Bruins with a score of 23-20. In a game that featured an NCAA record being broken, and a Wide Receiver throwing a pass for 17-yards, this game had it all.

Let’s break down this close match-up.

Quarterbacks: B-

It wasn't pretty, but they got the job done. Three different players threw a pass in last nights game, and neither one of them looked good doing it.

Making his first career start in place of the injured Manny Wilkins, Brady White threw for 179 yards, to go along with a touchdown and interception. White completed his first three passes of the game, however, that was the only real bright spot of the first half, as he completed only 5 of his next 18 passing attempts.

Brady White left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, bringing in third-string quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole. His first career throw couldn't have gone any worse, as he was picked off in the end zone, for his only pass of the game. Wide receiver Jalen Harvey got in on the action, and completed a pass for 17 yards for his only completion of the game.

Running Backs: D

The rushing game was non-existent, and wasn't a factor whatsoever. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage combined for 27 carries resulting in 86 yards. Combining for only three first-downs the entire game, the duo couldn't seem to find a rhythm against the Bruins defense.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C+

Tim White did his job. Catching eleven passes and racking up 123 yards, he was a useful weapon all night along. However, he was the only real bright spot for the receiving core. Six other receivers combined for nine catches for a total of 73 yards.

Offensive Line: C-

Allowing only one sack, the offensive linemen kept Brady White protected all night. However, they weren't able to open up any holes for our run game, as they averaged 2.3 yards per carry. There were only seven tackles-for-loss, resulting in a mere 20 yards.

Defensive Line: B-

Coming into the game, it was widely known Josh Rosen does not fare well under pressure, and boy was that the case. Not only did Rosen look nervous on almost every snap, he was hit.... a lot. Our defensive front accounted for ten tackles-for-loss (including 3.5 sacks). Holding a high-powered offense like UCLA to only 20 points is more than an accomplishment, and is a huge boost of confidence for the team.

Linebackers: A

There probably wasn’t anyone more thrilled to leave Tempe than Josh Rosen, mainly due to Arizona State’s terrific play from their linebackers. Junior D.J. Calhoun one again led the Sun Devil defense, as he had 1.5 sacks to go along with five tackles. He was active all night, as he was all over the field, consistently putting pressure on Rosen. Koron Crump also stood out, as he recorded his second multi-sack game of the season.

Secondary: B+

Although Rosen through for 400 yards (in probably one of the more quiet 400-yard performances of recent memory) the defense stepped up when they needed to. Being known as one of the worst secondaries in college football, the Sun Devils quieted all of the naysayers by having arguably their best game of the season.

Holding the Bruins to only 20 points, there weren’t any huge plays that have killed them in recent weeks. They forced the Bruins to five three-and-outs, and came up with key defensive stops in crucial moments of the came. Definitely a positive sign, especially with a crucial game coming up against Colorado this weekend.

Special Teams: A+

Zane Gonzalez for heisman.

Just kidding.

No wait, actually.

Zane Gonzalez has been the most reliable and most consistent player for the Sun Devils all season. Hitting what ended up being the game-winning 46-yard field goal, the senior broke the all-time NCAA record for most career field goals. On the night he was three-for-three.