Arizona State tops UCLA to claim Pac-12 South Division
Pasadena, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Taylor Kelly threw one touchdown and ran for another as No. 19 Arizona State survived a furious second-half rally by 14th-ranked UCLA to hold on for a 38-33 win and grab the Pac-12 South Division title.
The win punched Arizona State's (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) ticket to the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford on Dec. 7. A win against Arizona next week, or a Stanford loss to Notre Dame, will give the Sun Devils home field advantage for the championship game.
Kelly passed for 225 yards on 20-of-27 attempts, and carried the ball 22 times for 99 yards for the Sun Devils, who have reeled off six straight wins to carry the division.
"Let me start off by saying that I've been doing this for 28 years and it's the most impressive display of heart by a football team that I�ve ever seen," ASU head coach Todd Graham said. I'm just so proud of these guys. I've told you guys many times that Shawn Griswold is the finest strength coach in the country. What you witnessed tonight is training. We're not done (either)."
Brett Hundley had a pair of touchdown passes with an interception along with 253 yards on 18-of-26 attempts for the Bruins (8-3, 5-3), who had won three straight coming into the game.
Trailing by nine points, UCLA had the ball to start the fourth quarter and found the end zone as Hundley and Shaquelle Evans got together on a 27-yard score. The team went for two, but Hundley's pass was picked off and it was a 38-33 game with 11:25 to play.
Following a brief possession from Arizona State, the Bruins were able to get into the red zone, but a 13-yard sack on third down forced a field goal attempt, which saw Ka'imi Fairbairn miss the 37-yarder to the right with 4:38 left.
The Sun Devils were again held to just one first down and had to punt the ball back to the Bruins with 3:21 to play.
Starting at their own 35, Hundley faced a 4th-and-5, but hit Evans for 15 yards to move the chains. However, a pair of holding penalties moved the ball back 20 yards, and two incompletions were followed by a sack to set up a 4th- and-35. Hundley completed a pass to Jordan Payton, but it was well short of the first down marker as the Sun Devils held on for the win.
"We got ourselves into a hole in the first half and were not able to recover," said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. "They fought tooth and nail for that thing, and it was just a little too much to overcome. The loss is bitterly disappointing."
Both teams scored on their first possession as Arizona State began the game with a seven-play, 76-yard drive that was capped on a Kelly 3-yard run, while UCLA got a 58-yard kickoff return from Ishmael Adams that set up a 42-yard touchdown catch from Devin Lucien.
Later in the first, Adams had another big special teams play as he took a punt 49 yards to the ASU 31. Four plays later, Fairbairn hit a 48-yard field goal to give the Bruins a 10-7 lead.
ASU, though, took the lead back on its next possession as Jaelen Strong caught passes for 23 and 26 yards to set up D.J. Foster's 3-yard touchdown run around the right side for a 14-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
On the first snap of the second quarter, Hundley attempted a screen pass to his right, but Carl Bradford picked it off cleanly and took the ball into the end zone for an 18-yard score and a 21-10 lead.
Fairbairn missed a 39-yard field goal on UCLA's ensuing touch, and the Sun Devils later used a 13-play, 69-yard march that saw Michael Eubank push the ball into the end zone from a yard out for a 28-10 lead with 2:36 to play in the first half.
The Bruins answered with a 23-yard field goal from Fairbairn 23 seconds before halftime, but there was enough time left for the Sun Devils to find the end zone again as Kelly tossed a pass to the right where Strong caught the ball just inside the goal line for a 19-yard score and a 35-13 lead at halftime.
Starting the second half with the ball, UCLA cut into its deficit as a 10- play, 79-yard drive saw Myles Jack take the ball in from three yards out for a 35-20 game.
Alex Garoutte fumbled the snap on a punt on Arizona State's following touch, with the Bruins recovering at the ASU 15, setting up a 1-yard TD run from Paul Perkins for a 35-27 game with 7:57 to play in the third.
A 28-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez on the Sun Devils' next touch gave the team a 38-27 lead, capping a 14-play, 64-yard march.
UCLA plays at USC next week ... UCLA had won the previous two games against Arizona State, and still leads the series, 18-11-1 ... Jack led UCLA in rushing with 86 yards on 16 carries ... Strong led all receivers with 91 yards on six catches, while Evans had six grabs for 80 yards ... ASU outgained UCLA 448-404.
11/24 01:56:40 ET