Freshman kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bruins (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) the key conference victory. The Bruins trailed 14-0 after 5 minutes, 10 seconds, but they came back and held a 42-33 lead with 9:01 to play. The Sun Devils (5-3, 3-2) then rallied and took a 43-42 lead with 1:33 to play before Fairbairn’s game winner.
Here’s how the Bruins graded out:
Brett Hundley passed for 274 yards and four touchdowns -- by far the best totals against a stingy ASU defense that was allowing a national-best 130 yards per game through the air. He stayed calm against Arizona State’s aggressive pass rush, but the Bruins get docked for giving up five sacks.
UCLA had 212 yards rushing and Johnathan Franklin was dynamic with 164 of those yards. He also had two touchdowns and carried the team in the fourth quarter, with 62 yards in seven carries. Brett Hundley made some nice plays with his legs and finished with 27 yards despite getting sacked five times.
Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 25 of 35 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Most of the damage came on short passes to running backs D.J. foster and Marion Grice, who combined for 13 catches, 176 yards and three touchdowns. The Bruins did have five sacks and an interception.
Arizona State rushed for 220 yards against the Bruins. But the Sun Devils also had 59 rushing attempts, so even though it was the second most yards UCLA has given up on the ground this year, a 3.7 yards-per carry average isn’t too bad. Linebacker Eric Kendricks had a whopping 17 tackles, 11 of them solo.
Punt returns continue to be an adventure. A muff by Steven Manfro put the Bruins in an early hole and a near-muff by Devin Fuller could have cost the Bruins late in the game. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s game-winner and punter Jeff Locke, excellent as usual, save the grade.
The UCLA captains arrived late for the opening coin toss and Locke had to make the call. It cost the Bruins a possession when Locke won the toss and elected to kick. Continuing to use the struggling Manfro on punt returns is a head scratcher. The staff can’t get an “F” after a win, but this was close.