Following their most impressive win of the conference season, the Arizona State Sun Devils now prepare for their final home game of the 2018 season.
Enter Chip Kelly’s 2-7 UCLA Bruins.
As the record indicates UCLA isn’t a very good team and are in the midst of rebuilding their program. Kelly had many years of success in the Pac-12 with Oregon and is working to replicate his previous success in college football.
However, ASU will be smart not to overlook UCLA as it could be the kind of let down performance that derails the season.
Let’s take a look at the Bruins:
An anemic offense
This matchup bodes well for Arizona State in many different ways, but it’s likely that defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales’ unit will be licking their chops to face off against the Bruins offense.
UCLA ranks in the bottom third of the conference in both passing and rushing offense. It’s part of the rebuilding process, but there’s little evidence to suggest that UCLA will be able to move the ball against the Sun Devils.
Kelly originally brought in graduate transfer quarterback Wilton Speight from Michigan to play quarterback, but he was injured during the Bruins season opener against Cincinnati.
That brought upon true freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson has showed flashes of potential, but has been handcuffed by UCLA’s lack of talent among their skill players.
Thompson-Robinson was banged up against Oregon last Saturday, but is expected to play against ASU this weekend.
A ‘slightly better’ defense
The Bruins don’t have much going for them at this point in time.
UCLA’s defense has allowed the second most points in the Pac-12 this season, only their crosstown rival USC has allowed more.
However, they do have a few players to keep your eye on Saturday.
Redshirt junior linebacker Keiseasn Lucier-South has been very good at getting into the opponent’s backfield this season as he’s totaled a team leading 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
In the secondary, sophomore defensive back Quentin Lake leads the Bruins with two interceptions and has the most tackles among the UCLA defensive backs.
Expect the Sun Devil offense to key-in on both Lucier-South and Lake this Saturday.
Coaching star power
One of the most discussed aspects of the 2017 Pac-12 football offseason was the new coaches in the conference.
While both Chip Kelly at UCLA and Kevin Sumlin to Arizona were praised, Herm Edwards and ASU’s decision to name him head coach wasn’t met with the same adulation.
ASU and Edwards have had the last laugh so-far as the Sun Devils control their destiny in the Pac-12 South.
Edwards and ASU will face both Kelly and Sumlin as the regular season finally approaches, as he and the Sun Devils look to get the last laugh in 2018.