Well that was quite the game last night. After a bit of an uneasy start to the game, Ishmael Adams, Brett Hundley and the rest of the Bruins put Arizona State away thanks to a backbreaking 28-point outburst spanning the end of the 1st half and into the 3rd quarter. Overall, UCLA's 62 points were more than any ASU opponent had scored in Sun Devil Stadium's 55-year history.
With the Bruins holding a 3-point lead in the final minute of the 1st half and ASU driving down field, it looked like the best case scenario was going to be a 20-20 halftime score, and that's if the defense could pull off a redzone stop. And then, as ESPN's Kevin Gemmell put it this morning:
... Ishmael Adams went all Ishmael Adamsy. A 95-yard pick-six in the closing seconds of the half, a 100-yard kick return and an all-out second-half flogging by the rest of the Bruins led to UCLA's 62-27 victory in Tempe.
Coming into the game, Hundley's availability was officially in doubt - though no one really bought Coach Mora's claims that he was questionable, pending last minute practice and medical evaluations. SI.com's Pete Thamel wrote this morning on how crucial Brett is to a successful Bruin season, as well as some of the risks that he took on the field last night, and the risks that the coaches took in opening up the playbook for the recovering QB
With Hundley injured and vulnerable, the team could have ditched the designed runs from the game plan. Instead, it thrust him into the breach, a move that will be considered bold in victory, but would have seemed reckless if he ended up hurt. Hundley acknowledged the tricky spot in which his injury put the Bruins’ staff. "It paid off man," Hundley said of their choice. "You have to say ‘F it.’"
Immediately after last night's game, Thamel shared a few intital thoughts from Sun Devil Stadium while noting the intense NFL interest toward one of the players on the field.
1. NFL eyes are on Brett Hundley
More than 20 NFL scouts arrived at Sun Devil Stadium primarily to evaluate Hundley on a field full of potential pro talent. It was a fascinating environment to scout the redshirt junior. ... went from game-time decision to the most dynamic player on the field, even leaping over Arizona State linebacker Viliami Moeakiola at one point. ... finishing with the kind of night that can generate Heisman buzz.
Three NFL general managers were there in person – San Francisco’s Trent Baalke, San Diego’s Tom Telesco and St. Louis’ Les Snead. (The Chargers and Rams could well be in the quarterback market). A handful of teams sent two front office types, including Tampa Bay, Miami, the Rams, Ravens and the Jets.
As a 49er fan, reading that Baalke was at the game scouting Brett was a nice way to end an already great Thursday night (and judging from the early part of the NFL season, the Niners might just fall far/rise enough in next spring's draft order to make a run at him). Pete went on to note what we have been discussing the past couple of weeks, that while the Bruins have elite talent and are set up to make a run for a playoff spot, the team doesn't quite look ready to truly compete for one yet - but that they have the time and opportunity to live up to the preseason hype.
NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang focused his attention on the Bruin Defense. While he was particularly impressed with Ishmael Adams and Eric Kendricks, he did like what he saw from a UCLA front 4 who should all be earning NFL paychecks in the next couple of years. Those guys are just the leaders of a group of guys that gives "the Bruins one of the most individually talented defenses in all of college football" per Rang.
Doug Haller had the rough task of writing up the Arizona Republic's post mortem, noting that ASU's early cupcake schedule did little to test the rebuilt Sun Devil defense.
The first three games – against Weber State, New Mexico and Colorado – didn't offer much as far as evaluation purposes. UCLA offered a stiffer test, and it was plenty revealing.
"We just made a lot of catastrophic mistakes," Graham said.. " … We only played 58 plays on defense, and we struggled to get lined up at times. Tackling was atrocious."
I don't recall noticing #55 neatly encapsulating ASU's overall performance during this play, but thankfully Spencer Hall did.
#55 is just a poignant bit player in this tragedy, Arizona State. https://t.co/yQ7Jt8EqZ5
— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) September 26, 2014
Chris Foster is reporting that the Pac-12 might be getting closer to getting the P12 Network onto DirecTV, though not due to any negotiation breakthrough by the conference.
DirecTV shareholders approved the company's $48.5-billion sale to AT&T this week.
"If the sale goes through, we already have a deal in place with AT&T," Scott said. "That gives me optimism for the future."
The Pac-12 and AT&T have an existing carriage agreement, giving Larry Scott hope that if the acquisition of DTV goes through, their new ownership's previous dealings with the network will lead to an agreement.
In tragic news from the wider world of college football, the University of Cincinnati lost one of their players yesterday. Freshman walk-on running back Chamoda Kennedy-Palmore was killed when an SUV ran him over as he rode his motorcycle to practice on Thursday afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the U of Cincinnati community and our SBN colleagues at Down the Drive as they go through what we experienced last fall after Nick Pasquale's death. I am also feeling a little more nervous now after having watched Jake Brendel ride his Harley around LA last week on The Drive.