The UCLA Bruins (2-8 overall, 2-5 Pac-12 Conference) lost their third consecutive game on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., 31-28 to the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-4, 4-3 in Pac-12). Eno Benjamin rushed for 182 yards in 34 carries for the Sun Devils, who also got 199 yards passing and 60 yards rushing from quarterback Manny Wilkins. He scored twice on runs and another with a pass. The Bruins, who will finish their season against USC and Stanford at the Rose Bowl, were led by Wilton Speight, who passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns to tight end Caleb Wilson, who had 164 yards receiving. Joshua Kelley rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown in 21 carries.
UCLA loses to Arizona State 31-28
UCLA imploded on its final drive, which started in encouraging fashion.
The Bruins took over with 93 seconds left at their own 20-yard line and Wilton Speight completed back-to-back passes to Chase Cota for a combined 21 yards.
But Speight fumbled on a sack and the Bruins recovered before back-to-back false starts pushed them back and wasted valuable seconds. Speight’s final desperation pass fell incomplete and the Bruins walked away with a 31-28 loss to Arizona State.
It was the third consecutive defeat for UCLA (2-8 overall, 2-5 Pac-12 Conference), which will finish its season against USC and Stanford at the Rose Bowl.
Caleb Wilson’s second touchdown pulls UCLA to within 31-28 with 1:57 left in game
UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson’s second touchdown catch of the game kept the Bruins’ hopes alive.
Wilson took a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wilton Speight to cut UCLA’s deficit to 31-28 with 1:57 left int he game.
Wilson has caught 11 passes for 164 yards.
UCLA tried an onside kick but Arizona State recovered.
Manny Wilkins’ touchdown gives Arizona State a 31-21 lead over UCLA late in fourth quarter
Arizona State accomplished dual goals on its latest drive.
The Sun Devils took more than eight minutes off the clock and added to their lead on Manny Wilkins’ one-yard touchdown run when he extended the ball over the goal line on third and goal from the one.
The score gave Arizona State a 31-21 lead with 3:56 left in the game. UCLA will need to score in a hurry to have a chance at a comeback.
Wilkins has completed 15 of 21 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Arizona State tailback Eno Benjamin has run for 186 yards and a touchdown in 33 carries.
Benjamin looked like he might have run for a touchdown on second down, prompting celebratory fireworks from a nearby hill, but the ball was ruled down at the one-yard line. No matter. Wilkins got the touchdown on the next play.
Caleb Wilson’s touchdown catch pulls UCLA to within 24-21 midway through third quarter
Caleb Wilson is having a career game.
His latest catch, on a 33-yard catch and run for a touchdown, pulled UCLA to within 24-21 with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
That was a big response for the Bruins after getting pulverized on defense by Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin on the previous drive.
Wilson is up to nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Eno Benjamin’s touchdown run gives Arizona State a 24-14 lead over UCLA midway through third quarter
UCLA got more than a taste of Eno Benjamin on Arizona State’s last drive.
Benjamin got six of the Sun Devils’ seven carries on the drive, including a one-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal from the one that gave Arizona State a 24-14 lead with 8:13 left in the third quarter.
Benjamin tallied 74 of the 76 yards on that drive and has 125 yards and a touchdown in 22 carries for the game. That’s an average of 5.7 yards per carry.
Arizona State answers with a touchdown to take 17-14 lead over UCLA late in the second quarter
Manny Wilkins got some payback.
One drive after he had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown, the Arizona State quarterback drove his team down the field for a touchdown that gave the Sun Devils a 17-14 lead with 58 seconds left in the second quarter.
Wilkins completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Nick Ralston. He’s completed 11 of 16 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown with an interception.
Darnay Holmes interception gives UCLA a 14-10 lead over Arizona State late in second quarter
Darnay Holmes gave UCLA’s defense a much-needed pick-me-up, intercepting a Manny Wilkins pass and returning it 31 yards for a touchdown to give the Bruins a 14-10 lead with 4:36 left in the second quarter.
UCLA had just missed a 44-yard field goal and its defense had been spotty in the game’s early going before Holmes came through with the big play.
Wilkins has had only four passes intercepted this season.
Joshua Kelley touchdown run gives UCLA 7-3 lead midway through first quarter
UCLA one-upped Arizona State on its opening drive, getting a variety of big plays from its offense.
Tight end Caleb Wilson, receiver Theo Howard and tailback Joshua Kelley all logged big gains on a 75-yard drive that ended with Kelley’s three-yard run behind three tight ends on the left side that gave the Bruins a 7-3 lead.
Quarterback Wilton Speight completed both of his passes for 28 yards on the drive and Kelley ran for 21 yards in four carries. Howard had the longest run on the drive, going for 26 yards on an end around.
Wilson started the drive with back-to-back catches for 28 yards.
Field goal gives Arizona State early 3-0 lead over UCLA
Arizona State put together an impressive opening drive, moving 60 yards before UCLA’s defense awoke.
The Bruins held the Sun Devils to a 34-yard field goal with 9:16 left in the first quarter after Elijah Gates broke up a pass intended for N’Keal Harry in the end zone and Odua Isibor stopped quarterback Manny Wilkins well short of a first down on third and 12.
Arizona State tailback Eno Benjamin ran for 28 yards in six carries on the drive and Wilkins completed two of three passes for 18 yards.
Wilton Speight apparently starting at quarterback for UCLA against Arizona State
UCLA coach Chip Kelly said this week that freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was available after having recovered from the injury that knocked him out of the Bruins’ loss to Oregon last weekend.
But it appears as if Wilton Speight will be UCLA’s starting quarterback Saturday against Arizona State.
Speight took snaps from starting center Boss Tagaloa in pregame warm-ups, a sign that he will be taking them in the game as well.
This will be Speight’s first start when he and Thompson-Robinson are both available since Speight was hurt in the season opener against Cincinnati. Thompson-Robinson stepped in and kept the starting job once Speight had recovered from his injury.
UCLA is trying to break a two-game losing streak and gain some momentum heading into its rivalry game against USC next weekend.
Collecting wins is UCLA’s most realistic goal right now
The Rose Bowl remains in reach for UCLA under a scenario as likely as snow in the Arizona desert this time of year.
The Bruins would have to win their final three games and watch the rest of the Pac-12 Conference’s South Division experience something approaching Armageddon. Then they would have to beat the North Division champion as heavy underdogs in the Pac-12 title game.
More realistically, the Bruins would like to finish their first season under coach Chip Kelly on an upward trajectory and snag a few wins along the way.
“I really just want to come out with three W’s,” said senior receiver Christian Pabico, whose college career is nearing its end. “So that’s really the main thing for me.”
The first opportunity for UCLA (2-7 overall, 2-4 in the Pac-12) comes Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium against Arizona State (5-4, 3-3), one of four teams the Bruins are trying to overtake in a jumbled Pac-12 South, where every team has at least three conference losses.
Bruins vs. Sun Devils: How they match up
UCLA (2-7, 2-4) at Arizona State (5-4, 3-3)
Saturday, 11 a.m. PST, Sun Devil Stadium. TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 570, 1150, 97.3.
Arizona State receiver N’Keal Harry vs. the UCLA secondary. Bruins coach Chip Kelly called the 6-foot-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.