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At the Half UCLA Trails ASU 21-20

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UCLA plays hard during the first half and goes into the half trailing by one.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

I always like to get on Twitter before games and get the vibe of Bruins Nation. Some wondered what kind of effort the Bruins would give in today’s game against ASU. UCLA had some things on their side. First, ASU was coming into this game with the Pac-12’s 11 ranked pass defense, and with the return of Josh Rosen there was hope that UCLA would take advantage of ASU’s poor defense.

1st Quarter

UCLA’s first drive was promising as they moved the ball down the field, but a slightly overthrown Rosen pass to a wide open Massington (that could have been caught) fell incomplete and put an end to the drive, and then a poor hold on the FG attempt caused Molson to miss the 36 yard FG.

ASU’s first drive did not yield much as UCLA did a pretty good job containing the ASU offense and forcing a punt, but the punt yielded the first two UCLA penalties of the day and forced UCLA to start deep in their end.

UCLA went three and out on their second drive and their subsequent punt gave ASU great field position, starting their drive at midfield.

ASU did not need much time as Demario Richard had a run for 22 yards to the UCLA 10, and then Manny Wilkins’ 2nd and 7 pass to N'Keal Harry for 7 yards put ASU on the board and ahead 7-0 at the 8:43 mark of the 1st quarter.

Another UCLA drive started off promising, as Bolu Olorunfunmi rushed to the left for 30 yards to the ASU 45. However, UCLA quickly snapped the ball, and Josh Rosen’s pass was intercepted by Chad Adams.

UCLA’s defense was in a spot to possibly hold ASU’s defense on a 3rd and 8 pass play where ASU was tackled short, but an off-sides call gave ASU a 3rd and 3 that was converted and the drive continued. ASU had another 3rd down, and Manny Wilkins’ pass to N'Keal Harry for 13 yards to the UCLA 3 converted. The drive was capped with a Demario Richard for 2 yards for a TD. ASU went up 14-0 at the 3:39 mark of the first quarter.

The vaunted UCLA offense received the ball and could do pretty much nothing with the ball. UCLA once again punted the ball to ASU, and if there was ever a time for the UCLA defense to make a play, it was at this point of the game. ASU’s Wilkins dropped back to pass and UCLA’s Marcus Moore tipped the pass, and the ball was intercepted by Nate Meadors. Meadors returned the interception for 26 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. At the 1:23 mark of the first quarter, UCLA was down 14-7.

2nd Quarter

The second quarter started with ASU’s fifth drive of the game. ASU was moving the ball, but Rick Wade put pressure on Wilkins on a huge 3rd and 3 play, and Wilkins had to hurry the pass and Meadors almost found himself with his second interception. The pass did fall incomplete, ASU had to punt the ball. Momentum, at this point seemed to have shifted towards UCLA.

UCLA started their next drive at the their own 27 yard line. A beautiful Josh Rosen pass to Massington fell incomplete, but an ASU pass interference moved the ball. Then, Jedd Fisch’s favorite first half play, another jet sweep reverse, this time to Pabico, helped UCLA pick up 30 yards to ASU’s 27 yard line. After a short run, Josh Rosen passed to the left to Bolu Olorunfunmi for 23 yards to the ASU 1. Then the tricky Josh Rosen kept the ball on the zone read and rushed it in for a 1 yard TD. UCLA was now tied up at the 12:34 mark of the 2nd quarter.

ASU wasted no time moving the ball, and to nobody’s surprise the way they moved the ball was on the ground. In an pretty unreal exhibition of smash-mouth football, ASU rushed the ball 10 STRAIGHT TIMES. With a QB draw by Wilkins for a TD ending the drive. ASU was now up 21-14 at the 7:55 mark of the second quarter.

UCLA wasted no time trying to answer ASU’s impressive drive as on the first Josh Rosen dropped back and hit Jordan Lasley for 59 yards to the ASU 17. However, UCLA’s drive stalled, and they had to settle for a JJ Molson 31 yard field goal. UCLA trailed 21-17 at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter.

ASU’s next drive did not produce much to start, and they were forced into a 3rd and 15. ASU decided to play it safe and quick pitched to the right for a minimal gain, and ASU was forced to punt.

UCLA started their next possession on their own 31 yard line with 5:26 left before the half. UCLA continued their trickery during this drive as a pass back to Rosen resulted in Rosen passed to Lasley for 15 yards. However, after two incomplete passes, Rosen was tasked with a 3rd and 10, and a perfect pass to Wilson was dropped, and UCLA had to settle for a Molson FG. UCLA trailed 21-20 with 3:49 to play in the half.

ASU moved the ball on their next drive and were forced into a 3rd and 10, and while Wilkins was not sacked, the Bruins pressured him and he scrambled for a couple of yards.

UCLA took over with 1:27 to go, and while the drive started out well with a 18 yard pass to Lasley. UCLA could not pick up a 4th and 1, and they turned the ball over to ASU, and now ASU had a chance to put points on the board. ASU moved the ball, and UCLA forced ASU to convert a 3rd and 6 play with 13 seconds at UCLA’s 40 yard line. ASU converted as Manny Wilkins hit a quick slant to Jalen Harvey for 14 yards to the UCLA 26. ASU then missed the 43 yard field goal.

Summary of the First Half

  • Josh Rosen is slightly off tonight.
  • UCLA receivers drop too many balls
  • Jedd Fisch has pulled out all the stops on the offensive side of the ball
  • We still cannot stop the run. 203 yards given up
  • Our defense scored points tonight
  • The second half should actually be pretty entertaining.

GO BRUINS!!!

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