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ASU Football Primer: UCLA Bruins

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Good offense at the Rose Bowl

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ASU’s 2021 Schedule

Sep. 2: vs. Southern Utah (Thu.)

Sep. 11: vs. UNLV

Sep. 18: @ BYU

Sep. 25: vs. Colorado

Oct. 2: @ UCLA

Oct. 8: vs. Stanford (Fri.)

Oct. 16: @ Utah

Oct. 30: vs. Washington State

Nov. 6: vs. USC

Nov. 13: @ Washington

Nov. 20: @ Oregon State

Nov. 27: vs. Arizona

UCLA’s 2020 Season

The Bruins finished the season at 3-4, but that was not at the fault of their offense. It seemed like Chip Kelly’s team finally started to click on his side of the ball. UCLA scored 30-plus points in five of the seven games, scoring a season-low 25 points in a win...over Arizona State. The offense finished 20th in points per game, by far the highest mark under Kelly (98th in 2018 and 80th in 2019 ).

UCLA’s four losses all came within one score and the Bruins lost by a combined 15 points in their four defeats.

Key Returners

Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns to his quarterback position already having three years of experience. Last season, he had a 156.3 quarterback rating behind a 12-to-4 touchdown to interception ratio. Thompson-Robinson also added over 300 yards on the ground. His two top targets; wide receiver Kyle Philips — led the team in receptions— and tight end Greg Dulcich — led the team in receiving yards and touchdown — also return.

Linebacker Caleb Johnson continues to hold his spot as the leader on the defense. UCLA’s leading tackler (44) and in sacks (5.5) will make another major impact in his senior season.

Biggest Losses

UCLA does lose its super flexible weapon in Demetric Felton, who was drafted this past spring. Felton had eight touchdowns from scrimmage, led the team in rushing yards (668) and he caught 22 balls last season. The Bruins will have Brittain Brown, who rushed for 543 yards in his first season in Los Angeles after transferring from Duke, fill the led back role. UCLA also adds former top-50 recruit and Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet to the backfield.

The Dallas Cowboys drafted defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa in the third round in April. Odighizuwa contributed four sacks and six tackles for a loss to the Bruins’ defensive front.

Reason Why ASU Could Win

UCLA has got the better of the Sun Devils the past two years. However, it’d hard to imagine that Arizona State’s defense will play as poorly as it did two years ago against the Bruins and the offensive mistakes from last year won’t be there this season.

Arizona State did hold UCLA to its season-low in points last season, and it returns basically the exact defense from last year, while the Bruins lost their top weapon. If the defense plays like it did last season and the offense can have an okay day, the Sun Devils likely win.

Reason Why ASU Could Lose

Over the past two years, the Sun Devils have had arguable two of their worst games come against UCLA. The matchup between UCLA’s offense and Arizona State’s defense will probably determine the game’s theme. If the Bruins can turn it into a shootout, will the Sun Devil offense be able to respond? That seems like a situation that likely favors UCLA especially at home.