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ASU vs. UCLA Instant Recap: Sun Devils drop shootout on brink of bowl eligibility, 44-37

Pasadena. Roses. Pasadena.

Arizona State v UCLA Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

PASADENA — The Arizona State Sun Devils (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12) fell to the UCLA Bruins (5-5, 3-4) in a Saturday night seesaw battle by a score of 44-37 in Pasadena.

The Sun Devils got out to a fiery start, scoring twice to take a 14-0 after instant offense and a Josh Rosen interception.

On ASU’s second drive, Manny Wilkins threw a liner to N’Keal Harry in the back of the end zone, giving the Sun Devils a 7-0 lead with eight and a half minutes left in the first quarter.

Rosen then unleashed an interception when ASU safety Chad Adams jumped on it at the ASU 37-yard line. Great field position led to a Sun Devil score when Demario Richard strolled into the end zone on a 2-yard carry. ASU led 14-0 with just over three and a half minutes to go in the first quarter.

Then, UCLA got the break it need.

After a broken UCLA drive, Wilkins threw a pass that was tipped into the air and into the hands of UCLA defensive back Nate Meadors. Meadors ran it 26 yards for a touchdown. The pick six brought the Bruins closer, 14-7, with just under a minute and a half left in the first quarter.

The interception propelled UCLA to further momentum, as the Bruins drove 73 yards in just over a minute and a half when Rosen took it himself for a 1-yard rushing touchdown in UCLA’s fastest scoring drive of the half. The Bruins tied the game, 14-14, with 12 and a half minutes left in the half.

The Sun Devils then answered on a Wilkins 16-yard touchdown run in which he leaped over a UCLA defender and into the end zone with just less than eight minutes remaining in the half. ASU led 21-14.

The rest of the half was decided by field goals, as two of three were made. Both of them made by the Bruins.

JJ Molson, who missed a 36-yarder in UCLA’s first drive, nailed a 31-yard kick with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter and hit a 38-yard field goal three minutes later. The Bruins trailed 21-20 and that score would stand into half time after Brandon Ruiz missed a 44-yard field goal with time expiring.

To start the second half, the Bruins scored for a third time consecutively after Soso Jamabo raced 21 yards into the end zone, giving UCLA its first lead of the night, 27-21, with just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

Ruiz then hit gold from 22 yards out to put the Sun Devils closer, 27-24, before UCLA running back Bolu Olorunfunmi ran 54 yards to the ASU 9-yard line. Olofunfunmi then put the finishing touches on the drive, scoring a 2-yard touchdown, as UCLA extended its lead to 34-24 just a minute and a half after Ruiz’s field goal midway into the third quarter.

The scoring then continued, but this time it was all Sun Devils. And both scores were converted via special teams.

Ruiz connected on a 22-yard field goal just over three minutes prior to the fourth quarter before Malik Lawal blocked a UCLA punt and Eno Benjamin scooped it and scored. ASU found itself tied 34-34 going into the fourth quarter.

ASU scored twice to start the evening and twice to end the third quarter, but UCLA lit the scoreboard first in the second, third and eventually the fourth quarter when Rosen connected with Jordan Lasley for a 22-yard touchdown. The Bruins led 41-34 just six seconds into the final quarter of play.

Then, Molson hit his third consecutive field goal. This being a 20-yard kick with just under 10 minutes remaining. The Bruins extended their lead, 44-34.

The Sun Devils and Bruins helf off on scoring for quite some time, but ASU wasn’t finished.

With just under three minutes to go in the third quarter, ASU was stuck at fourth-and-three on the 50-yard line. Wilkins aired out a 39-yard pass to Harry. The catch then brought Sun Devils deep into UCLA territory, as Ruiz hit 23-yard field goal to put ASU down just a touchdown, 44-37.

But it was without enough time.

UCLA took over with just less than a minute and a half left, took three knees and won the game.