Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday, Nov. 23, 7 ET
Last year's Arizona State-UCLA affair was a gem. Both offenses were clicking, with quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Taylor Kelly coming into their own over the course of one Tempe, Ariz., afternoon.
Now the two are seasoned veterans and two of the more recognized quarterbacks in the conference, looked upon to keep their teams' respective Rose Bowl dreams alive. If Arizona State wins, it's guaranteed a place in the conference title game. A Bruins win would put them into a one-game play-in against rival USC next week.
Both defenses are rife with talent, and Arizona State's is built to cause UCLA problems. The swarming pass rush, led by tackle Will Sutton and linebacker Carl Bradford, will test a young Bruins offensive line. Hundley must elude pressure and avoid making poor decisions that the greedy Sun Devils secondary of Osahon Irabor, Alden Darby and Robert Nelson can exploit.
Likewise, Kelly will feel pressure from Anthony Barr and Co. Opponents have taken to double-teaming and chip-blocking Barr on virtually every snap. Expect the Sun Devils to follow suit. His comrades in the linebacker corps—Eric Kendricks, Jordan Zumwalt and Myles Jack—need to contain from sideline to sideline to prevent the explosive plays on the edges Marion Grice and D.J. Foster are so adept at making.
Home-field advantage should be a tremendous edge for the Bruins. Arizona State has traditionally struggled in big games away from Sun Devil Stadium. This season is no exception, as evidenced by the Sun Devils' losses at Stanford and on a neutral field against Notre Dame.
Any advantage in this game is big. That's because another contest decided on the last possession could be in order.
Prediction: UCLA 41, Arizona State 38