SCOUT­ING RE­PORT: UCLA AT ASU

The Arizona Republic - - College Football - Michelle Gard­ner Kick­off is sched­uled for noon. TV: Pac-12 Net­work. Ra­dio: KMVP-FM 98.7. PA­TRICK BREEN/THE REPUB­LIC

Ari­zona State (5-4, 3-3 in Pac-12 play) looks to re­main in the driver's seat of the Pac-12 South as it takes on UCLA (2-7, 2-4) at noon at Sun Devil Sta­dium in the last reg­u­lar-sea­son home game for 16 se­niors, most no­tably quar­ter­back Manny Wilkins.

The Sun Devils are com­ing off a 38-20 vic­tory over then-No. 16 Utah while UCLA is look­ing to re­bound from a 42-21 loss at Ore­gon. The Bru­ins have been outscored in their past two con­tests 83-31.

ASU coach Herm Ed­wards doesn't think his team will take the Bru­ins for granted though.

"I think for the most part guys un­der­stand where we’re at. We have to win this game. Ev­ery week you have to win a game," he said. "We haven’t won three in a row. This is a good foot­ball team (in UCLA). I know the team’s record (is what it is) but they have some good ath­letes. They can move the ball, they can do some things on de­fense to dis­cour­age you. We have to be pre­pared."

UCLA leads the all-time se­ries 20-13-1 and has won 10 of 16 games at ASU, in­clud­ing a 44-37 vic­tory last sea­son in which then Bru­ins quar­ter­back Josh Rosen threw for 381 yards.

3 things to watch

1. Can ASU avoid a let­down? The Sun Devils got off to a 2-0 start this sea­son, then dropped the next two games so Ed­wards hopes his team fares bet­ter in its sec­ond at­tempt to win three in a row. The play­ers ad­mit­ted they got a lit­tle com­pla­cent with that start and have vowed not to let that drop-off hap­pen again. All said they re­al­ize how much is on the line this time, which is keep­ing them more fo­cused.

2. Will the ASU de­fense con­tinue its steady improve­ment? The Sun Devils are com­ing off their best show­ing of the sea­son, es­pe­cially given the level of the com­pe­ti­tion. Danny Gon­za­les' young squad held Utah to 100 yards fewer than its sea­son av­er­age and 20 points fewer than its scor­ing av­er­age the past four games. This should be an­other good day for the ASU de­fense against a UCLA of­fense that ranks 103rd out of 129 FBS teams and has some in­sta­bil­ity at quar­ter­back.

3. Will this be the last home game for N'Keal Harry? Most likely. Harry's stock con­tin­ues to rise and his show­ing the past two weeks has him on every­one's radar. He's pro­jected by most as a first-round draft pick with one prog­nos­ti­ca­tor list­ing him as high as fifth over­all. He's been one of the most ex­cit­ing ath­letes to come through the school in the past decade.

About UCLA

The Chip Kelly era in West­wood has got­ten off to a rough start as the Bru­ins' only wins have come against Cal­i­for­nia (37-7 on Oct. 13) and Ari­zona (31-30 on Oct. 30). In­juries have been a big prob­lem as well. Among those not ex­pected to play this week are line­backer Jae­len Phillips (con­cus­sion). The team has used two quar­ter­backs, fresh­man Do­rian Thomp­son-Robin­son and se­nior Wil­ton Speight as Thomp­son-Robin­son has been slowed by a shoul­der in­jury. Out of 129 FBS schools, UCLA ranks 103rd in to­tal of­fense (362.8 yards) and 100th in to­tal de­fense (437.8 yards). Kelly com­piled a 46-7 record in four sea­sons as a head coach at Ore­gon from 2009-12. In that stretch, the Ducks cap­tured three out­right con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships and four BCS bowl games. Since then, he's served as the head coach of the Philadel­phia Ea­gles (2013-15) and the San Fran­cisco 49ers (2016).

Star power

RB Joshua Kel­ley, UCLA: The 5-foot-11, 204-pound red­shirt ju­nior has chalked up 820 yards on 146 car­ries in eight games (102.5 yards per game) with a sea­son­high of 161 yards com­ing in last week's loss to Ore­gon. It marked the fifth time Kel­ley has sur­passed the 100yard mark. He also has 23 re­cep­tions for 162 yards on the sea­son. Kelly is in his first year with the Bru­ins, hav­ing trans­ferred from UC Davis, where he had 1,139 yards and seven touch­downs in two years.

QB Manny Wilkins, ASU: The se­nior quar­ter­back has com­pleted 179 of his 277 pass­ing at­tempts for 2,250 yards with 15 touch­downs and had just three passes in­ter­cepted. His sea­son-best of 380 yards pass­ing came in the sec­ond game of the sea­son against Michi­gan State, but he is com­ing off a stel­lar 285-yard ef­fort in last week's 38-20 win over Utah. He has 7,849 yards pass­ing which puts him at fifth all­time in ASU his­tory. He should move up two spots be­fore the sea­son is over. His lead­er­ship has been a valu­able as­set for the young team as well.

Trend­ing

5 – Num­ber of games in which the Sun Devils have not al­lowed a sack. Since 2000, ASU had never had more than two games in a sea­son in which it didn't al­low a sack.

17 – Num­ber of true fresh­men UCLA has played this sea­son.

116 – Rush­ing yards needed for ASU's Eno Ben­jamin to set the school's Pac-12 era record for rush­ing yards (1,229, cur­rently at 1,113).

302 – Num­ber of points UCLA has al­lowed in nine games. The Bru­ins have al­lowed 30 or more points in seven.

978 – Pass­ing yards needed for Wilkins to move into third all-time in pro­gram his­tory (8,827, cur­rently at 7,849).

Bot­tom line

This is a game the Sun Devils should win and win con­vinc­ingly, but they have yet to win three con­sec­u­tive games, which would be the case with a vic­tory. Their last two games (at Ore­gon and at Ari­zona) will be dif­fi­cult, which makes the need to take care of busi­ness Satur­day even more crit­i­cal.

Pre­dic­tion

ASU 41, UCLA 21.

Ari­zona State re­ceiver N'Keal Harry (1) breaks free for a 58-yard touch­down re­cep­tion against UTSA on Sept. 1 at Sun Devil Sta­dium.

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