PASADENA—The sunset above the Rose Bowl on Saturday night was a picturesque backdrop. The clouds were a mix of orange and pink hues hanging above the San Gabriel Mountains. The Arizona State Sun Devils upset the No. 7 ranked UCLA Bruins 38-23. It was the Bruins first loss of the season, and QB Josh Rosen’s first loss at the college level.
Trailing 29-10 entering the fourth quarter, UCLA mounted a spirited comeback effort that put them in a position to win the game with 5 minutes left. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Arizona State marched down the field and on a critical third down, RB Kalen Ballage ran 23 tough yards, mostly backwards for a touchdown, putting an exclamation point on the game. Arizona State hasn’t lost back-to-back regular season games since 2012; it was a must-win victory that saved their season.
ASU was led by Quarterback Mike Bercovici, who beat the Bruins with his arm and his legs. He threw for 273 yards, two touchdowns and rushed for a 34 yard TD on a quarterback keeper. The Bruins defense looked dazed and a step behind all night. The loss of Eddie Vanderdoes and Myles Jack is being felt for the first time all year.
The offense was out of sync; the offensive line was unable to protect Quarterback Josh Rosen, who was sacked multiple times, and the running game never showed up. The Bruins’ streak of 24 consecutive games rushing for 100 yards was snapped by the Sun Devils. QB Josh Rosen never got into a rhythm due in part to the collapsing pocket. He still finished 22 out of 40, 280 yards, an interception and 2 TD passes to WR Thomas Duarte.
Over 80,113 fans filled the Rose Bowl on a brisk Saturday night. The Bruins record is now 4-1, 1-1 in the PAC-12. However, the road isn’t about to get any easier for UCLA; they must regroup before meeting the Stanford Cardinals on Thursday in Palo Alto.
By Christopher Floch