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(19) Arizona State (8-2) at (14) UCLA (8-2)



Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: With the Pac-12 South Division title hanging in the balance the 19th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils and the 14th-ranked UCLA Bruins will square off in a critical league battle at the Rose Bowl.

The Sun Devils have quietly risen to the top of the Pac-12 South Division. Arizona State has won five straight games after a 30-17 triumph over Oregon State last weekend. The win pushed the Sun Devils to 6-1 in league action, which has them ahead of both UCLA and USC by a game in the standings. Arizona State also moved up to No. 19 in the national rankings this weekend with its overall record improving to 8-2.

"We have worked a really long time, some of these guys five years, for the opportunity to go to UCLA and compete for the Pac-12 South Championship," Arizona State head coach Todd Graham said. "We are 60 minutes away, one win away, from clinching the south. That is a big, big deal."

This is the first part of a brutal two-game stretch to end the year for UCLA, which must deal with cross-town rival USC next weekend. The Bruins have set themselves up nicely to get a shot at their third straight Pac-12 Championship appearance with wins in three straight contests. The most recent was a 41-31 victory over Washington. The Bruins now sit at 8-2 overall and with a win this week and against the Trojans, will earn the South Division title.

"We are still in the hunt with another week to play. We call it our championship drive here. Arizona State is coming in here, and they are an excellent football team," UCLA head coach Jim Mora said. "But the most important thing is winning, and our offense has embraced it. It's an indication of the character of our players. I'm excited. I'm fired up. We are still in it. We have to keep going. We have to keep winning."

If last year's matchup is any indication this should be a barn burner. Ka'i Fairbairn booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Bruins to a thrilling 45-43 victory over the Sun Devils in Tempe. The Bruins lead that series by a count of 18-10-1.

Other than Oregon and Washington, no team in the Pac-12 is picking up more yards (475.3 ypg) than the Sun Devils. Arizona State also boasts of the second best scoring average (42.3 ypg) in the league.

A look at the short list of Heisman candidates probably wouldn't include Marion Grice, but it certainly should. The Sun Devils' lead running back has been unstoppable both on the ground and through the air this season. Grice has amassed 901 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing and has added 43 receptions for 366 yards and six more scores as a receiver. Grice has scored more touchdowns than any player in the Pac-12 and is second in the country in the category.

Grice isn't the only player that has been versatile. Taylor Kelly lines up under center and has been impressive both with his arm and his legs. Kelly has completed 62.4 percent of his pass attempts for 2,838 yards and 24 touchdowns, though he has been picked off 10 times. Kelly has had some issues of late as he has failed to get over 200 yards passing in the last two games. Kelly has also rushed for 312 yards and seven scores this year.

Although Kelly didn't excel through the air against the Beavers, Jaelen Strong was able to produce his best game in awhile as he had 106 yards on seven receptions. Strong (59 receptions, 834 yards, five TDs) had five straight games of 100 or more yards at one point this season but before last Saturday had been held to 35 or less in three straight. D.J. Foster (50 receptions, 523 yards, three TDs) and tight end Chris Coyle (24 receptions, 370 yards, four TDs) should not be overlooked either.

The Sun Devils' defensive efforts have earned them the top spot in the Pac-12 in total yards (338.4 ypg) just as quietly as they have risen to the lead in the South Division. Carl Bradford (11.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks) and Davon Coleman (10.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks) lead the pass rush, while Robert Nelson (39 tackles, six INTs) has been shutting down receivers and capitalizing on mistakes.

UCLA isn't far off the offensive pace. The Bruins are picking up 457.8 yards per game, with one of the more balanced attacks in the league. UCLA is also averaging more yards per play (6.1) than the Sun Devils (5.9).

The offensive breakthrough of the weekend, and probably the year, occurred in Los Angeles last weekend when converted freshman linebacker Myles Jack rushed for 59 yards and four touchdowns for the Bruins. It is the most for a Bruin in a game since 2005, when Maurice Jones-Drew accomplished the feat. Jack's efforts help out a backfield that has Paul Perkins (476 yards, three TDs), but has been without Jordon James (471 yards, five TDs), who has missed five of the last six games.

None of those three rushers is leading the team in rushing. That honor goes to quarterback Brett Hundley (502 yards, seven TDs), who like Kelly, is a threat both through the air and on the ground. Hundley is more comfortable as a passer though, having amassed 2,384 yards and 20 scores to just eight interceptions, completing 67.8 percent of his passes.

Hundley looks downfield for Shaquelle Evans (36 receptions, 524 yards, seven TDs), Devin Fuller (40 receptions, 453 yards, four TDs) and Jordan Payton (27 receptions, 336 yards, TD).

UCLA has not had the same type of defensive success as the Sun Devils this season, ranking ninth in the Pac-12 in total yards allowed (393.6 ypg). The Bruins have forced 21 takeaways and are tied for third in the league in turnover margin (+7). All-American Anthony Barr (14.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks) is a beast in the front seven. Keenan Graham (5.0 sacks) and Ishmael Adams (49 tackles, four INTs) have also made plenty of plays on the ball.

There is no understating how important this game is. Both teams are hungry to grab a division crown and put themselves in position for a berth in the Pac-12 title game. Arizona State has not traveled well this year with a 2-2 record, but with Grice and the stout defense they have, the Sun Devils will find a way to win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 38, UCLA 36

11/20 10:47:03 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
4th
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
4th
NCSU 35
PRES 0
 
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
5th
BAL 4
BOS 2
 
4th
PIT 0
MIL 0
 
5th
TAM 2
CWS 0
 
2nd
MIN 0
CLE 0
 
5th
ATL 0
NYM 3
 
5th
HOU 7
SEA 1
 
5th
MIA 2
WAS 0
 
5th
STL 5
CIN 2
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
 
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
 
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
3:30pm Today
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
 
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
 
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
 
4th
ILL 25
TXST 28
 
3rd
WASH 21
GASTATE 14
 
Half
SMISS 14
APPST 7
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL 6
BST 0
Half
OHIO 17
IDAHO 7
 
2nd
CIN 17
UMO 14
 
Half
MEM 19
MTST 7
 
Half
LSU 3
MSST 17
 
Half
ARK 28
NILL 7
 
2nd
ARKST 0
UTST 7
 
2nd
SALABAMA 0
GASO 14
 
2nd
WVU 7
OKLA 3
 
2nd
VANDY 14
SCAR 3
 
1st
NEB 7
MIAMI 7
 
1st
NMST 0
NMU 0
 
1st
HOU 7
UNLV 7
 
1st
FSU 0
CLEM 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
BSU
LALAF
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
4th
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
4th
NCSU 35
PRES 0