Arizona State’s tailbacks vs. UCLA’s run defense. The Sun Devils’ running game has been middling by Pac-12 Conference standards, churning out 150.2 yards per game, but you never would have known it during a 41-30 victory over Colorado last week. Arizona State rolled up 191 of its season-high 381 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and figures to run the ball plenty against a worst-in-the-nation run defense that’s allowing 303.2 yards per game.
UCLA (450.2 ypg/34.2 ppg): The Bruins hope to welcome back quarterback Josh Rosen from the concussion that has sidelined him since the third quarter of their game against Washington on Oct. 28. His top target will likely be receiver Theo Howard, who leads the team with at least one catch in each of his last 12 games.
Arizona State (404.8 ypg/27.1 ppg): The Sun Devils relied heavily on their ground game against the Buffaloes, calling runs on 35 of their 48 plays in the second half. Running backs Demario Richard, Eno Benjamin and Kalen Ballage share the rushing workload alongside quarterback Manny Wilkins, who ran for a career-high 95 yards last week.
UCLA (487.5 ypg/37.6 ppg): The Bruins have compiled their two best defensive performances of the season at the Rose Bowl, where they allowed an average of 19.5 points per game in victories over Colorado and Oregon. Of course, neither of those teams features an offense as dynamic as Arizona State’s.
Arizona State (411.6 ypg/29.3 ppg): Bruins coach Jim Mora said the Sun Devils have changed the way they’ve applied pressure under new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett while remaining aggressive. Arizona State’s 30 sacks are tied with Oregon for the second most in the Pac-12 and included one by defensive lineman JoJo Wicker that helped preserve the triumph over the Buffaloes.
UCLA punter Stefan Flintoft has earned the scholarship he was recently awarded, ranking fourth in the Pac-12 with an average of 43.2 yards per punt. … Linebacker Khaylan Thomas swung momentum in Arizona State’s favor against Colorado when he blocked a punt in the third quarter with the Sun Devils trailing by a touchdown.
UCLA has won its first four games at the Rose Bowl and is trying to go unbeaten at home for the first time since 2005. … Arizona State has won three of the last four games in the series, including each of the last two games at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA has four players on its roster from Phoenix: injured offensive lineman Kenny Lacy and reserve linemen Odua Isibor, Jax Wacaser and Sean Seawards. Arizona State has 29 Californians on its roster, including starters Richard (Palmdale), receiver Kyle Williams (Murrieta), tight end Ceejhay French-Love (Long Beach), left tackle Cohl Cabral (Rancho Cucamonga), right tackle Zach Robertson (Bellflower), linebacker Jay Jay Wilson (Santa Clarita), Wicker (Long Beach), linebacker Alani Latu (Rancho Cucamonga) and defensive back Kobe Williams (Long Beach).