Instant Recap: ASU football still pursuing sixth win after loss to UCLA

The Sun Devils led 14-0 in the first quarter, but couldn't keep hold of the two-touchdown lead

Pursuing bowl eligibility with three games left in the season, ASU was unable to get its sixth win of the season as the Sun Devils (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12) fell to the UCLA Bruins (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) 44-37. 

It took the Bruins all but two plays to make their way to the ASU 30. A quick six-yard completion from junior quarterback Josh Rosen would soon be followed by a gain of 30 yards on an end-around from redshirt senior Eldridge Massington. 

UCLA’s opening drive would end with a missed 36-yard field goal.

The Sun Devils began their drive with two runs totaling 13 yards, but it stalled after two short passes and an allowed sack. 

Later, the Sun Devils soon found themselves on the UCLA 10 thanks, in part, to senior running back Demario Richard taking a carry up the middle for 22 yards.

Two plays later, redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins found sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry for a seven-yard score in the back of the end zone. 

ASU led 7-0 with 8:34 left in the first quarter. 

The first play on UCLA’s next drive was a 30-yard run from junior running back Bolu Olorunfunmi

On the following play Rosen threw an interception to senior safety Chad Adams on the ASU 37. 

The Sun Devils ran the ball for the next 10 plays before Wilkins rifled a 13-yard dart to Harry. Nevertheless, Richard finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to put ASU up 14-0.

The Bruins’ were forced to punt on their ensuing drive. However, UCLA junior defensive back Nate Meadors picked off a tipped Wilkins’ pass and returned it for a 27-yard touchdown.

The first quarter ended with ASU on top of the Bruins 14-7.

In wake of the turnover, ASU tried to continue its strong offensive showing, but it failed as the Sun Devils punted.

UCLA’s offense started its first drive of the second quarter on its own 27. 

Two plays later, the Bruins' offense found life after a 15-yard defensive pass interference call was followed by gains of 30, 3 and 23 yards. Rosen capped off the drive with a one-yard rushing score.

ASU and UCLA were all knotted up at 14 apiece with 12:34 remaining in the first half.

The Sun Devils rallied with a scoring drive of their own, thanks to a rugged running game. 

Runs continued to rain in, and the drive finished with a 16-yard run up the middle from Wilkins, who hurdled over a defender before getting sandwiched into the end zone. 

UCLA’s offense responded with Rosen completing a 59-yard pass to redshirt junior wide out Jordan Lasley. The drive ultimately stalled and concluded with a 31-yard field goal.  

The Sun Devils led 21-17 as 6:50 remained in the first half. 

ASU failed to counter by punting on its following drive. 

Rosen took advantage by leading his team into field goal range after an eight-play, 38-yard drive ended with a 38-yard boot. 

Unable to get the offense clicking again, the Sun Devils punted for the second drive in a row. 

The Bruins’ second quarter success seemed bound to lead to another score. Even so, ASU’s defense stopped UCLA on fourth and short, forcing a turnover on downs.

Determined to score before halftime, Wilkins carried the offense to the UCLA 26 before freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz missed the 44-yard attempt. 

ASU led 21-20 at halftime. 

ASU opened its first second half drive with a six-yard run by Richard, followed by a notable 22-yard catch by Harry. 

Unfortunately for ASU fans, they saw the offense halt once again, turning the ball over on downs. 

Rosen methodically marched the Bruins’ offense 59 yards to do just that. Junior running back Soso Jamabo took the edge on an outside run and scored a 21-yard touchdown.  

Desperate to end the scoring drought, Wilkins began taking chances through the air. After missing on a deep ball to sophomore wide receiver Kyle Williams, Wilkins threw a bullet across the middle to redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Harvey, picking up 36 yards.

The offense managed to get within the UCLA 10-yard line before Ruiz nailed a 22-yard field goal.

ASU trailed 27-24 with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

Nearly forced to punt on their next drive, the Bruins converted a third down with a 56-yard catch and run from Olorunfunmi, who later scored a two-yard touchdown to finish the drive.

Down by 10, Wilkins and ASU offense looked to take the air out of the football. Wilkins found Williams twice on the drive for a combined 66 yards, but the Sun Devils again settled for three points.

After the 22-yard kick, ASU was still down 34-27. 

Inspired by the offense, the Sun Devils’ defense forced UCLA to punt. However, redshirt sophomore linebacker Malik Lawal blocked the kick and freshman running back Eno Benjamin scooped it up for an ASU touchdown.  

Set to rebound from a special teams’ debacle, Rosen led the UCLA offense 75 yards on seven plays. Lasley capped off the drive by reeling in a 22-yard pass from Rosen to score. 

On ASU’s ensuing drive, the Sun Devils would have to punt. 

Rosen again advanced the offense forward with the strength of his right arm. Despite the consistency in the passing game, the drive ended with a 20-yard field goal from the Bruins. 

ASU was losing 44-34 as 9:38 remained in the game.  

The Sun Devils scored one more field goal before falling to the Bruins 44-37. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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