UCLA (3-2, 1-1) at Arizona State (4-1, 1-1)
When: Saturday, October 6th 2016
Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Time: 10:30 ET | TV: ESPN2
The UCLA Bruins and Arizona State Sun Devils will try to keep pace with Colorado in the Pac-12 South when they do battle on Saturday night in Tempe, Arizona. The Bruins bounced back from a loss against Stanford and beat up Arizona at home 45-24, knocking out their quarterback and forcing the Wildcats to use a guy they wanted to redshirt this season. UCLA’s defense has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 48.3% completion rate, tops in the conference and ninth in the nation. The Bruins are also expected to get defensive lineman Eli Ankou back this week after he missed the Arizona game with a hyper-extended elbow. The Bruins have been especially strong on defense in the first two quarters lately, giving up a combined 10 points during the first half of their last three games. Quarterback Josh Rosen is coming off his best game so far this season, completing 20-of-37 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns against Arizona and finishing without an interception for the second consecutive week. Darren Andrews was the top returning receiver for the Bruins this season and played like it against the Wildcats, recording career bests of nine receptions and 108 yards.
Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins suffered a left foot injury in Saturday’s 41-20 loss at USC and coach Todd Graham said earlier this week that his availability was “questionable to doubtful” against the Bruins. Brady White is expected to start in place of Wilkins, and the redshirt freshman from Southern California will bring lofty expectations, as he’s the highest-rated quarterback to sign with the Sun Devils in a long time. The Sun Devils got the better of UCLA last year by putting a lot of pressure on Rosen in the 38-23 road victory. The defense needs to get better especially in the secondary, as they’re allowing an FBS-worst 396.4 passing yards per game, which is 102.4 yards more than the next closest Pac-12 team. The rush defense has been good, however, limiting opponents to a conference-low 107.4 rushing yards a game. Arizona State is allowing 503.8 yards of total offense per game and at least 41 points in three of their last four games. The Sun Devils have scored on all 21 trips inside their opponent’s 20-yard line this season, one of seven teams in the nation with a perfect red-zone record entering this week.
UCLA is the better team but they have failed to cover five of their last six games overall. A new era could be starting tonight in Tempe with White getting his first start. I expect a high-scoring game with the Sun Devils keeping it close.
Pick: Arizona State +10