As if Brett Hundley slinging balls in warm ups 60 yards downfield with a bum shoulder wasn’t foreshadowing enough, UCLA stomped on and hacked the Sun Devils logo at midfield. Prior to kickoff, the image of the UCLA letters spray painted on the Sun Devils logo went viral and as expected Arizona State school officials were not pleased. It was fixed before the ASU players arrived for warm ups but the damage was already done. UCLA wasn’t playing around.
Those poor things from Arizona State played their little hearts out in the first quarter jumping out quickly to a 17-7 lead. The emotion of the stadium, the crowd and the heat of Tempe was on their side, but that’s one quarter – they needed to sustain it for four. Hundley looked as good as preseason advertising would indicate. For the first time this year he looked composed, athletic, and showed off his big arm on a plethora of long throws.
The stats don’t tell the whole story as back up Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici threw for 488 yards and three touchdowns. The running game was non existent and that’s being generous. They completely abandoned it halfway through the second quarter, causing Bercovici to try and win the game with his arm. UCLA’s defense looked the part as they put consistent pressure on the Arizona State’s back up quarterback all night. On the flip side the Sun Devil’s defense did their best UNC impression giving up 62 points and looked like they couldn’t tackle a slow horse. At one point UCLA ran a screen play, broke one tackle then two Arizona State defenders ran into each other, letting the receiver break loose for a long touchdown. It was funny to me, but really embarrassing for an Arizona State team trying to prove their worth in primetime.
I thought Arizona State would put up more of a fight; I wasn’t sure how healthy Hundley was and in the first quarter it looked like ASU was setting themselves up for a dogfight in which they’d hold their own. I’ll be the first to admit I underestimated UCLA, but they were helped by Arizona State, who has the offense of a Top 20 team but a defense that couldn’t stop my 13 year old brother.
The Sun Devils must regroup; next Saturday they go to USC, and starting out 0-2 in the conference eliminates any realistic chance of them reaching the Pac 12 championship game. UCLA on the other hand will head into a home game against Utah next Saturday with supreme confidence.
*Section Photo credit to Scott Halleran, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Christopher Hanewinckel, USA Today Sports