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The Edge: Facing dire straits, ASU should earn fifth win Saturday


UCLA redshirt freshman Kevin Prince was handed the reins this year, and the Bruins have endured growing pains in the passing game.

Prince has only six touchdowns on the season and is second to last in passing efficiency in front of ASU senior Danny Sullivan, though he performed well last week in throwing for 314 yards against Washington State.

Senior Kevin Craft has seen duty in six games and hasn’t fared much better.

It’s not exactly a pick-your-poison scenario, but the Sun Devils could start and/or play one of three quarterbacks in sophomore Samson Szakacsy, Sullivan and freshman Brock Osweiler.

Szakacsy had arguably the best quarterback performance of the year for the Sun Devils against Oregon and may be the one true fit in the Sun Devils zone-read offense.

EDGE: Even

Running Back

UCLA redshirt freshman Johnathan Franklin is 10th in the conference in rushing and has two 100-yard games for the Bruins, the seventh freshman in UCLA history to do so. Sophomore Derrick Coleman has added more than 200 yards.

ASU senior Dimitri Nance continues to plug away, leading the Sun Devils with 620 yards rushing on the season.

Senior Shaun DeWitty has been a serviceable backup, and freshman Cameron Marshall should get a fair amount of carries against the Bruins.

The excitement lies in the potential of freshman Jamal Miles, who may see some time in the backfield this week.

The Sun Devils are averaging 122.7 yards on the ground this season after averaging just 89 yards in 2008.


Wide receiver/Tight end

UCLA sophomore receivers Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree have combined for more than 60 receptions and 1,000 yards.

Senior Terrence Austin has helped the Bruins in a balanced passing attack with 30 grabs.

The Bruins get passing game production from the tight ends as well. Seniors Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya have combined for 39 receptions for 600 yards but no touchdowns. Moya is third in UCLA history in tight end receptions with 65 in his career.

ASU seniors Kyle Williams and Chris McGaha both contributed last week in Eugene, but ASU failed to make a catch beyond 20 yards. The Sun Devils need to find some big plays regardless of who the quarterback is.

After another serious knee injury to sophomore tight end Dan Knapp, ASU is becoming increasingly thin at the position.


Offensive line

The Bruins are second to last in the conference in rushing yards and have allowed 27 sacks on the season.

UCLA starts three sophomores, a freshman and a junior on the offensive line, and the inexperience has shown through.

ASU’s offensive line went through another transformation, as sophomore right tackle Matt Hustad dislocated his kneecap against Oregon.

Replacing him is senior Tom Njunge. Senior left tackle Shawn Lauvao appeared to have one of his better games against an undersized OU front last week.


Defensive line

The Bruins anchor the Pac-10’s third-ranked scoring defense with sophomore end Datone Jones, junior tackle Brian Price, senior tackle Jess Ward and senior Korey Bosworth at right end. Bosworth is brother of former Oklahoma star and NFL bust, Brian Bosworth.

The quartet has combined for 12.5 sacks on the season.

ASU’s defensive front looked discombobulated against the Ducks, but that’s par for the course against the offense from the future.

The Sun Devils hope to once again display the physical dominance against UCLA that allowed them to have one of the top rushing defenses in the country pre-Oregon.



UCLA’s unit is led by another Bosworth brother, senior weak side linebacker Kyle Bosworth. This Bosworth leads the team with 64 tackles, including six for loss.

Senior middle linebacker Reggie Carter is second in tackles and has forced two fumbles on the year.

ASU senior Gerald Munns dislocated his elbow and is out for the season.

It’s not the type of farewell the savvy, hard-hitting veteran deserved.

Now is as good a time as ever to fully transition to the future with true Vontaze Burfict and sophomores Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee.



UCLA has the second-best pass defense in the conference, allowing less than 200 yards per game and 6.5 yards per pass.

Sophomore free safety Rahim Moore leads the nation in interceptions with nine. Moore was a top recruit and should be a future first-day NFL draft pick.

ASU redshirt freshman Deveron Carr has improved every week in his new role as starter, coach Dennis Erickson said.

ASU’s secondary, with the additions of Carr and sophomore safety Clint Floyd, has limited the last two quarterbacks faced to 17 of 42 completions.

Thus far, the subtractions of junior Omar Bolden and senior Terell Carr have not hurt the Sun Devils’ performance.


Special teams

UCLA junior kicker Kai Forbath leads the conference in kicking accuracy, making good on 23 of 25 kicks, including seven of nine from longer than 40 yards.

Redshirt freshman Jeff Locke leads the country in punting average at 44.5 yards per punt. UCLA hasn’t returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown this season.

ASU junior punter Trevor Hankins’ performance has slipped the last two games with a few shanks. Hankins, though, is still 15th in the country in punting yardage.


Overall EDGE: ASU

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