UCLA at Ari­zona Sate

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - BY BEN BOLCH

at Tempe, Ariz. 11 a.m., Pac-12 Net­work

Let’s be real: Bru­ins have a shot at Rose Bowl, but they need plenty of help.

Sat­ur­day, 11 a.m. PST, Sun Devil Sta­dium. TV: Pac-12 Net­works. Ra­dio: 570, 1150, 97.3.

Mar­quee matchup

Ari­zona State re­ceiver N’Keal Harry vs. the UCLA sec­ondary. Bru­ins coach Chip Kelly called the 6foot-4, 213-pound Harry the best re­ceiver his team will have faced this sea­son, a dec­la­ra­tion backed by his pro­duc­tion. Harry ranks sec­ond in the Pac-12 Con­fer­ence in yards re­ceiv­ing (828) and touch­downs (nine) while mak­ing some of the sea­son’s most as­tound­ing catches. “He can dom­i­nate in one-on-one cov­er­age be­cause even if he’s cov­ered, he can still go make a play,” Kelly said. “He’s got re­ally good speed for a guy that size and he’s got tremen­dous ball skills.” Harry will face a Bru­ins sec­ondary that ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in pass de­fense, giv­ing up 229.6 yards per game.

Get­ting of­fen­sive

UCLA (362.8 ypg/21.2 ppg): Kelly said quar­ter­back Do­rian Thomp­son Robin­son was fully re­cov­ered from the in­jury he sus­tained last week­end against Ore­gon, pre­sum­ably putting him on track to start against the Sun Devils. Tail­back Joshua Kel­ley needs to gain 180 yards to be­come the Bru­ins’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Paul Perkins in 2015.

Ari­zona State (435.4 ypg/29.8 ppg): Harry isn’t the Sun Devils’ only pro­lific play­maker. Tail­back Eno Ben­jamin leads the Pac-12 with 123.7 yards rush­ing per game and quar­ter­back Manny Wilkins ranks third in the con­fer­ence in pass ef­fi­ciency while throw­ing for an aver­age of 250 yards per game. Wilkins has 15 touch­down passes and only three in­ter­cep­tions.

Get­ting de­fen­sive

UCLA (437.8 ypg/33.6 ppg): The Bru­ins haven’t gen­er­ated many sacks or turnovers lately, get­ting only one of each over their twogame los­ing streak. But the de­fense played rel­a­tively well against Ore­gon with the ex­cep­tion of a few big plays, mainly fall­ing vic­tim to the Bru­ins’ spe­cial teams re­peat­edly putting them in a bind.

Ari­zona State (379.2 ypg/22.4 ppg): The Sun Devils have changed de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors since last sea­son but fea­ture a sim­i­lar at­tack­ing style in which Kelly es­ti­mated that they blitz about 75% of the time. That ap­proach has helped Ari­zona State col­lect 24 sacks, putting it in a tie with USC for third-most in the Pac-12.

Some­thing spe­cial

Much of the fo­cus will be on UCLA’s spe­cial teams, which were an across-the­board dis­as­ter against Ore­gon with a punt re­turned for a touch­down, a missed tackle on a fake field-goal at­tempt and a muffed punt.

Of note

Ari­zona State coach Herm Ed­wards said he met Kelly while serv­ing as hon­orary cap­tain dur­ing a Philadel­phia Ea­gles game that Kelly coached. Ed­wards said he had al­ready been an ad­mirer of Kelly from his time at Ore­gon. “He had that thing go­ing now,” Ed­wards told re­porters this week. “That thing was go­ing 1,000 miles per hour and I re­mem­ber sit­ting in the stu­dio think­ing that it was hard to deal with.”

In­jury re­port

UCLA linebacker Krys Barnes wore a yel­low non­con­tact jersey in prac­tice this week but ap­peared to be a full par­tic­i­pant in drills. Re­ceiver Kyle Philips ap­pears to be clos­ing in on a pos­si­ble re­turn from the un­spec­i­fied in­jury that has side­lined him since late Septem­ber, in­creas­ing his ac­tiv­i­ties in prac­tice this week. Tail­back Kazmeir Allen’s prac­tice par­tic­i­pa­tion was more lim­ited af­ter he suf­fered an un­known in­jury against Utah on Oct. 26.

ben.bolch@la­times.com Twit­ter: @latb­bolch

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