Instant recap: ASU football narrowly escapes with 23-20 win over UCLA

Despite a major injury, the Sun Devils emerged victorious.

Despite the loss of redshirt freshman quarterback Brady White to injury ASU football snuck out of Sun Devil Stadium with a 23-20 victory over UCLA.

After ASU stalled on offense to open the game, UCLA moved the ball into Sun Devil territory on its first possession thanks in part to a 49-yard hookup from sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen to sophomore tight end Austin Roberts. The Bruins (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) couldn't take advantage, however, as freshman kicker J.J. Molson sailed a 46-yard field goal wide to keep the game scoreless.

The Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) were first on the board midway through the first quarter after a botched UCLA snap set up ASU just outside the red zone. ASU failed to find the end zone, but senior kicker Zane Gonzalez put one through the uprights from 35 yards away to give the Sun Devils an early 3-0 lead.

Both teams exchanged punts before UCLA would answer with its first points of the game early in quarter number two. Molson hit a 38-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3.

UCLA would get the ball right back as the Sun Devils turned the ball over on the first play of their next drive. Junior running back Kalen Ballage took a direct snap out of the "Sparky" formation, but subsequently put the ball on the carpet for his first fumble of the season.

The Sun Devil defense stood tall once again, forcing UCLA into another long field goal. Molson again pushed the kick wide for his second miss of the half, and the game remained knotted at three apiece.

ASU's offense continued to struggle on its next possession, again committing a turnover on the drive's first play. White floated a deep pass up the right sideline that was picked out of the air by senior defensive back Fabian Moreau. Again, the turnover did not hurt ASU as the defense forced another punt.

Although ASU's offense struggled mightily during the first half, UCLA's offensive unit was nearly as bad. To make matters worse, Rosen left the game midway through the second quarter after coming up gimpy on multiple occasions. His replacement, redshirt senior Mike Fafaul went 2-for-6 with 38 yards in limited action during the half.

The score at half was a paltry 3-3.

The Sun Devils picked it up on the offensive side in the second half, starting with a 23-yard field goal by Gonzalez that put him into a tie for first in NCAA history for career makes with 88.

After a productive drive later in the quarter, ASU scored the first touchdown of the game thanks to a five-yard scamper by junior running back Demario Richard. At that point, the Sun Devils held a 13-3 lead.

A 19-yard field goal by Molson brought the Bruins back within a touchdown, and that deficit was erased minutes later as Rosen returned to the game and found redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jordan Lasley to knot things up 13-13.

White found freshman wide receiver N'Keal Harry for a 14-yard score to cap off a productive third quarter for the Sun Devil offense, putting them up 20-13 through three.

It was in the early stages of the fourth quarter that Gonzalez made history. With a 46-yard field goal, Gonzalez became the all-time NCAA leader in career field goals with 89 and gave the Sun Devils a 23-13 lead.

Just as it seemed the ASU offense was getting into rhythm and its defense was dominating, UCLA marched down the field before Rosen found redshirt senior tight end Nate Iese for 18 yards to make it 23-20 in favor of the Sun Devils.

ASU would then suffer a devastating blow. On a later drive, White went down with an apparent right foot injury and had to be replaced by true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole — who threw an interception in the end zone on his first career pass.

On the ensuing UCLA drive, Rosen went down with an injury of his own and was replaced permanently by Fafaul. The drive stalled after Rosen's injury and the Bruins were backed out of field goal range, surrendering the ball to the Sun Devils.

After ASU ran down the clock on the next drive, UCLA got it back with 48 seconds remaining — hoping for a miracle.

They didn't get it, as freshman defensive back Robbie Robinson picked off Fafaul as time expired and ASU got the victory.

Next up for the Sun Devils is a road trip to Boulder for a battle with No. 21 Colorado, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.


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