With last week’s win over Colorado, putting Arizona State (5-4, 4-2 Pac-12) one victory away from becoming bowl eligible, their upcoming matchup with the UCLA (4-5, 2-4) is all the more important.
The Bruins have fallen off significantly this year. After an embarrassing 48-17 loss on the road at Utah, UCLA is desperate to turn their season around and they may have to do so with or without the help of top NFL prospect Josh Rosen.
Here are some things to watch out for from UCLA:
Josh Rosen has had his fare share of injuries during his college football career. A shoulder injury forced him to miss the majority of his sophomore campaign and a concussion suffered against Washington forced him out of the Bruins’ matchup against Utah. UCLA has been coy about Rosen’s concussion, initially saying he had a hand injury. Most recently, he is reportedly expected to play if he does not have any setbacks in concussion concussion protocol.
If he does play, the Sun Devils will be facing one of the best quarterbacks they’ve played all season. Despite missing a game, Rosen is still ranked within the top 15 in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Part of this is due to throwing an average of 42 passes per game, but Rosen isn’t just a volume thrower. He has fantastic presence in the pocket, reads defenses well and makes smart decisions with the football. Rosen is expected to be a top first round pick in this year’s draft and his play on the field supports that, making him dangerous to ASU if he plays.
Next Man Up
With Rosen possibly missing more time due to his concussion, UCLA has a few options at quarterback. Freshman Devon Modster got the start against Utah but had to leave the game with a thumb injury opening the door for fellow freshman Matt Lynch. It is unclear whether Modster will be available for the game against ASU, but regardless, neither young quarterback looked very impressive. They combined to throw for just 114 yards and two touchdowns against Utah on 15 passing attempts.
It would certainly help out ASU’s leaky secondary if either Modster or Lynch gets the start and they may be able to take advantage of a freshman quarterback just like they did in 2015 when they beat up a freshman in Rosen.
The game starts Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PST (6:30 p.m. MT) on Pac 12 Networks.