We’re heading out to the wild wild west into the valley of the sun for this week’s showdown between the Bruins of UCLA and the Sun Devils of Arizona State. This game looked much better on paper a few weeks ago before both starting quarterbacks went down with injuries. While Brett Hundley may give it a go for UCLA, Taylor Kelly is a definite no go for ASU as he was still in a walking boot earlier in the week. Before the injury Hundley had been up and down so if he is out there it will be interesting to see how he performs coming off an injury that kept him out majority of the game against Texas.
Lets start with the Bruins shall we? Their season certainly hasn’t lacked drama thus far as they enter this week coming off their third barn burner with Texas in Jerry World. The Bruins conquered adversity against Texas when star quarterback Brett Hundley went down early with an injury and they had to turn the keys of the offense over to former walk on Jerry Neuheisel. Young Neuheisel engineered the game winning drive late in the game when he hit Jordan Payton on a stutter and go for the go ahead score. The offensive line who has struggled mightily early this year got the running game going and that opened up the playbook for UCLA and allowed them to keep the Texas defense off balance. Any good coach will tell you that a win is a win, but I’m sure Jim Mora won’t want to have to sweat out another victory like that with Neuheisel under center as they were quite fortunate to come out on the winning side of things in Arlington. As up and down the offense has been for UCLA the defense has played some pretty good football and they have been led by linebackers Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack. I’ve been able to watch UCLA play several times this year and when those two are on the field they are making plays. Those two will be playing on Sundays in the near future, do yourself a favor and check them out this evening as they will surely be tested against an offense that has not struggled to put up points this year.
Now on to the Sun Devils. They won’t be nearly as fortunate to get their starting quarterback this evening after Taylor Kelly sustained a foot injury against Colorado. Backup Mike Bercovici will get the start tonight in Tempe after finishing for Kelly in the Colorado game in which he went 2 for 4 passing wise for 8 yards and no touchdowns. I think it’s fair to say that ASU’s quarterback situation is murky at best and they will be leaning on D.J. Foster pretty heavily as he has been an all purpose nightmare for defenses so far this year. Foster will be facing his stiffest test so far this year in UCLA’s defense so it will be an interesting game of chess between the coordinators as ASU tries to move him around and find mismatches.
Despite injuries to both quarterbacks coming in to the match, I think we will still get us a quality football game down in Tempe this evening. I think Taylor Kelly being out will handcuff ASU’s offense a bit, but D.J. Foster will get his. Whoever I don’t think Foster alone will be enough to carry the Sun Devils to victory and I have the Bruins coming out victorious on the road in a close one. I think the defense stands tall in this victory and I think they force Bercovici to throw a couple of interceptions in the process.
Prediction: 28-17 UCLA