No. 12 UCLA holds off Arizona State rally, runs away with another win

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UCLA defensive back Jaylin Davies shoves Arizona State wide receiver Bryan Thompson away from the ball.
UCLA defensive back Jaylin Davies shoves Arizona State wide receiver Bryan Thompson away from the ball during the first half Saturday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scored two rushing and two passing touchdowns as the Bruins held off Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium.

UCLA avoid disaster in the desert with surprisingly strong run game

UCLA running back Keegan Jones celebrates his touchdown against Arizona State with teammates
UCLA running back Keegan Jones (22) celebrates his touchdown against Arizona State with offensive lineman Josh Carlin (54), offensive lineman Jon Gaines II (57) and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

TEMPE, Ariz. — A possible desert disaster was looming.

Once ahead by 24 points with six minutes left in the third quarter, No. 10 UCLA saw its lead — and its season — flash before its disbelieving eyes.

Arizona State rolled off 18 consecutive points, closing to within a touchdown of an improbable comeback with six minutes left Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

UCLA’s offense, once unstoppable even with star running back Zach Charbonnet unavailable, had run aground.

The Bruins needed one more sustained drive to avert an unthinkable loss. They got it, running back Colson Yankoff powering across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run with 2½ minutes left to help his team hold on for a hold-your-breath 50-36 victory.

UCLA’s ground game churned out 402 yards, its most in coach Chip Kelly’s five seasons. No Charbonnet? No problem.

Into the void stepped someone fully capable of generating highlights with his feet: quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Revving his team’s rushing attack into overdrive, Thompson-Robinson unleashed two hurdles in the first half while sprinting and spinning his way around Arizona State defenders as the Bruins (8-1 overall, 5-1 Pac-12) scored 28 unanswered points.

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UCLA closes the door on Arizona State

UCLA responded to Arizona State’s rally with a string of bruising rushing plays that ended in the end zone.

The Bruins returned the kickoff 16 yards and followed it with one 20-yard run and another three-yard run before Arizona State was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Colson Yankoff then carried the ball three consecutive times, with the third being a one-yard touchdown dive.

The Bruins connected on a two-point conversion to seal the victory, extending their lead to 50-36 with 2:30 left in the game.

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UCLA’s offense cools, Arizona State’s heats up

UCLA put up ridiculous rushing numbers early in this game, but the Bruins’ scoring pace has slowed.

Meanwhile, Arizona State has been steadily chipping away at the Bruins’ lead.

The Bruins went three-and-out of the Sun Devils’ field goal cut UCLA’s lead to 42-28.

Arizona State then went on an eight-play, 69-yard scoring drive capped by Xazavian Valladay’s one-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion trimmed UCLA’s lead to 42-36 with 6:24 left in the game.

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Bruins fumble, Sun Devils score

Dorian Thompson-Robinson followed a 34-yard run with a fumble early in the fourth quarter that Arizona State recovered at its 46-yard line.

The Sun Devils eventually converted the turnover into a 36-yard field goal by Carter Brown.

UCLA leads 42-28 with 11:04 left in the game.

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UCLA recovers onside kick

Arizona State closed out the third quarter by attempting an onside kick that bounced well past 10 yards up field and was easily fielded by UCLA.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson then slipped in a 34-yard run before time expired in the third quarter.

UCLA holds a 42-25 lead in the fourth quarter.

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UCLA defense gets feisty, surrenders a touchdown

This game won’t be known for discipline by either defense.

Arizona State’s offense has clearly irritated the UCLA defensive line, which got into a few shoving matches with the Sun Devils late in the second quarter.

It wasn’t particularly helpful for UCLA, with Arizona State’s Xazavian Valladay scoring on a one-yard touchdown. The Sun Devils were called for offensive pass interference on a two-point attempt. Arizona State was backed up 15 yards but still got to replay the down and hit an extra point instead.

UCLA leads Arizona State 42-25 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

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No one can stop Kazmeir Allen

Kazmeir Allen can run.

The UCLA receiver, who has lined up at running back and competed on the Bruins’ track and field team, took a handoff from Dorian Thompson-Robinson and raced up field 75 yards for a touchdown.

With the extra point, UCLA padded its lead to 42-18 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.

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Arizona State punches back

It has a long way to go before it catches up, but Arizona State hasn’t given up yet.

The Sun Devils scored to close an eight-play, 75-yard drive and tacked on a two-point conversion that trimmed UCLA’s lead to 35-18. UCLA was a bit sloppy during the drive, gifting Arizona State a first down early in the drive when the Bruins were flagged for pass interference.

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Watch DTR score again as UCLA builds on its comfortable lead

Arizona State received the ball to open the second half and the UCLA defense promptly forced the Sun Devils to go three-and-out.

The UCLA offense then picked up where it left off, mounting a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Dorian Thompson-Robinson (who else?) running for a four-yard touchdown. With the extra point, UCLA stretched its lead to 35-10 at the 10:03 mark in the third quarter.

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Arizona State final drive of second quarter fizzles

Arizona State tried to make the most of the final minute of the second quarter, but quarterback Trenton Bourguet was sacked while facing first-and-10 at the UCLA 43-yard line. He was dropped for a loss of seven yards and time expired.

UCLA leads Arizona State 28-10 at the half.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson leads another scoring drive

Dorian Thompson-Robinson continues to find gaps in Arizona State’s defense.

After the Sun Devils punted, DTR led the UCLA offense on a 16-play, 90-yard scoring drive.

While he was sacked twice on the drive, Thompson-Robinson accounted for multiple big run and pass plays. He capped the drive with a pass to Michael Ezeike for a nine-yard touchdown.

With the extra point, UCLA pulled ahead 28-10 with 33 seconds left in the second quarter.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson runs offset absence of Zach Charbonnet

Zach Charbonnet is sitting out the Arizona State game for undisclosed reasons, putting more pressure on Dorian Thompson-Robinson to deliver explosive rushing plays.

DTR has largely been willing to take on the challenge, leaping into the air again during a second-quarter open field scramble that gained 33 yards.

Reserve running back Keegan Jones scored to cap the five-play, 81-yard scoring drive.

With the extra point, UCLA pulled ahead 21-10 at the 9:43 mark in the second quarter.

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The UCLA and Arizona State defenses both came up with stops to start the second quarter, finally slowing down the scoring in this matchup.

The Bruins still lead 14-10 at the 12:49 mark in the second quarter.

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UCLA scores as track meet continues

Points, points, points.

UCLA countered Arizona State’s touchdown with a quick strike of its own.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the Bruins on a five-play, 77-yard drive that took just 2:01 off the clock.

DTR ran for 15 yards and completed three passes, including a three-yard touchdown toss to Keegan Jones with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.

UCLA leads 14-10 near the end of the first quarter.

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Arizona State converts on fourth down to score

Arizona State didn’t settle for another field goal in the red zone after finding seams in UCLA’s defense.

The Sun Devils had what appeared to be a Xazavian Valladay three-yard touchdown run called off due to a holding penalty. Arizona State regrouped, gained 10 yards and went for it on fourth down. Trenton Bourguet found Messiah Swinson for a three-yard touchdown pass.

With the extra point, Arizona State pulled ahead 10-7 at the 2:41 mark in the first quarter.

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DTR responds to pick with a touchdown scramble

Dorian Thompson-Robinson often says he’s accustomed to overcoming adversity.

He had no issue brushing off a game-opening interception against Arizona State, leading UCLA on a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that spanned 2:25.

He capped the drive with a 14-yard run that included a DTR signature leap in the air. He finished the play in the end zone, but he took a hard shove in the back that highlighted why Chip Kelly would like Thompson-Robinson to take to the air a little less often.

The quarterback celebrated scoring the touchdown and didn’t seem bothered by the hit.

UCLA leads Arizona State 7-3 with 8:54 left in the first quarter.

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UCLA limits Arizona State to a field goal

The UCLA defense limited the damage from Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s interception, forcing fourth-and-three at the Bruins’ 7-yard line.

Arizona State opted to take points rather than gamble on another shot at the end zone.

Carter Brown hit a 25-yard field goal at the 11:19 mark in the first quarter.

Arizona State leads UCLA 3-0.

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DTR opens with a turnover

Dorian Thompson-Robinson isn’t off to a great start at Sun Devil Stadium.

On the first UCLA offensive possession of the game, DTR tossed an interception.

Arizona State’s offense took over at the Bruins’ 40-yard line.

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UCLA receives opening kickoff

After an extended FS1 pregame show, we’re finally off.

No. 12 UCLA received the opening kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium and did not return it.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson takes over leading the Bruins’ offense.

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First College Football Playoff rankings show USC and UCLA need help reaching top four

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaves the field after a 38-13 win over Stanford on Oct. 29.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

With Tuesday’s release of the first College Football Playoff top 25 rankings, we can officially start thinking about the road to SoFi Stadium for the CFP national championship on Monday, Jan. 9.

And most important: What is the path to the title game for USC and UCLA, which have slipped into the top 10 of some of the polls with one month left in the season?

The selection committee confirmed what hopeful Trojans and Bruins fans already knew — the winner of the Nov. 19 crosstown rivalry showdown is going to need some help to be one of the four teams selected to the bracket with a shot at SoFi glory. The good news? The machinations are not totally unreasonable.

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Chip Kelly: Pac-12 after dark hurts UCLA stars’ chances of winning national awards

UCLA coach Chip Kelly speaks during Pac-12 conference media day in July.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Does a Heisman Trophy candidacy exist if no one can see it?

UCLA has two of the nation’s most riveting players in Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson, but a second consecutive late start might send East Coast viewers to bed before Charbonnet jukes a defender or Thompson-Robinson zips a pass.

That leaves Bruins coach Chip Kelly as his stars’ chief lobbyist ahead of his team’s 7:30 p.m. PDT kickoff against Arizona State on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

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It’s taken six years, but Mo Osling III has finally become a stalwart for UCLA

UCLA defensive back Mo Osling III gestures during a game against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at the Rose Bowl.
Defensive back Mo Osling III, shown in a game against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at the Rose Bowl, leads UCLA in tackles with 52.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Morrell Osling Jr. hadn’t bought a game program in years. He stopped sometime during his son’s first season at UCLA, but during a punishing heat wave before the first game of Mo Osling III’s sixth and final year in college, a proud parent just wanted to celebrate and document another step in his child’s life.

So Osling approached the man selling the glossy magazines and bought one. He immediately recognized the cover boy.

“Wow,” he thought to himself as he looked at his son next to linebacker Bo Calvert on the front of the program. “There’s a reason why we went through everything.”

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A culture club of ‘books and ball’ under Chip Kelly is a dual success for UCLA

UCLA coach Chip Kelly stands on the sidelines during a loss to Oregon on Oct. 22.
(Tom Hauck / Getty Images)

Playing football for UCLA means mastering a lot of concepts.

Each week is its own season when it comes to the game plan. Plays come and go. Two Zach Charbonnet runs against Utah earlier this month were “windback zone” and “influence trap,” obscure names leading to big results. Both plays were run for the first time this season.

The previous week, during a victory over Washington, the game plan was heavy on “stick” and “spacing” passes that were abandoned against Utah, according to Chris Osgood, who analyzes the team’s plays for Bruin Report Online.

It’s nothing the Bruins can’t handle. Earlier this month, a team spokesman told reporters defensive lineman Jacob Sykes had just a few minutes for an interview. He needed to get to a philosophy class about Socrates.

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UCLA must beware looking past revitalized Arizona State: Five things to watch Saturday

UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau (53) celebrates with linebacker JonJon Vaughns after making a stop against Stanford on Oct. 29.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

It’s a trap! It’s a trap!

No. 10 UCLA has two games seemingly as innocuous as a walk around the block before that highly anticipated showdown against No. 9 USC later this month.

One might come with chunks of broken sidewalk and a rabid dog in hot pursuit. It arrives Saturday night in the Arizona desert with plenty of “Pac-12 After Dark” intrigue.

Arizona State isn’t good by any standard measure, but the Sun Devils will be at home. They’ve finally identified the correct quarterback in former walk-on Trenton Bourguet. And there’s that whole anything-can-happen — and often does — factor when these teams face each other.

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UCLA vs. Arizona State: Betting odds, lines and picks against the spread

UCLA wide receiver Matt Sykes makes a catch in front of Stanford cornerback Nicolas Toomer.
UCLA wide receiver Matt Sykes makes a catch in front of Stanford cornerback Nicolas Toomer during the first half of the Bruins’ win on Oct. 29.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Las Vegas sportsbooks have No. 12-ranked UCLA (7-1, 4-1 in the Pac-12) as 11-point road favorites at Arizona State (3-5, 2-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

UCLA needs to keep winning to keep its conference title hopes alive as it trails Oregon (leading the Pac-12 at 5-0) and is battling No. 9 USC and No. 14 Utah for the second spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Las Vegas. The Bruins have already beaten Utah and their key game is Nov. 19 vs. USC in the Rose Bowl.

But the Bruins need to take care of business against the have-nots of the conference and early bettors for this game at ASU seem to believe they will as 86% of the bets and 80% of the money has been bet on UCLA -11 at DraftKings. For the most up-to-date betting trends, see VSiN’s college football splits page.

UCLA came through in a similar spot last Saturday as the 1-2 punch of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (199 yards passing and 50 yards rushing) and running back Zach Charbonnet (198 yards rushing, three touchdowns) built a 24-6 halftime lead and cruised to a 38-13 victory vs. Stanford.

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