Taylor Kelly threw for 226 yards and ran for 97 to lead No. 17 Arizona State to a 38-33 victory over No. 14 UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
With the win, ASU (9-2 overall, 7-1 in the Pac-12) clinched the Pac-12 South title. The Sun Devils will play Stanford in Palo Alto on Dec. 7. UCLA falls to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in conference.
The game was a tale of two halves. ASU jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead as Kelly rushed for a score and passed for another, while linebacker Carl Bradford intercepted a Brett Hundley pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.
The Bruins stormed back, outscoring ASU, 20-3, in the second half as Hundley got hot. The sophomore finished with 253 passing yards on 18 of 26 passing with two touchdowns and one pick. Erstwhile linebacker/running back Myles Jack ran for 86 yards and scored a touchdown for the third-straight game to lead the Bruins.
Marion Grice had 95 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards to put up another solid all-purpose effort for the Sun Devils. Receiver Jaelen Strong had six catches for a game-high 91 yards.
As a result of this win, the Sun Devils have won six straight games and will now make their first trip to the Pac-12 title game. Who would’ve thought that ASU could conceivably finish the season ranked ahead of both Stanford and Oregon? It’s a testament to the job that head coach Todd Graham has done in his time at Tempe, as he has led ASU to its first nine-win season since 2007.
Today also marked the official end of the Pac-12’s title hopes, as ASU, Stanford and Oregon all have two losses. What looked like a promising season for the conference just a couple weeks ago has fallen apart as a result of attrition and parity.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah