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UCLA vs. Arizona State matchups: Jayden Daniels will test Bruins

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels throws against UCLA during the second half.
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels throws against UCLA in October 2019. Daniels played well against the Bruins last season.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Breaking down how UCLA (2-2) and Arizona State (0-1) match up heading into Saturday’s game at Sun Devil Stadium at 7:30 p.m. (TV: FS1; Radio: 570)

Marquee matchup

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels vs. the UCLA defense. Daniels had a strong showing last season during a loss to the Bruins and remains perhaps the top dual-threat quarterback in the Pac-12 Conference. He rushed for 111 yards and 10.1 yards per carry during the Sun Devils’ 2020 opener against USC but struggled throwing the ball, completing 11 of 23 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He’ll face a resurgent UCLA defense that might want to deploy a spy to counteract Daniels’ mobility. The Bruins have been fairly stout against the pass this season, giving up an average of 217.5 yards to rank fifth in the conference.

Getting offensive

UCLA (447.5 ypg/34.5 ppg): If quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson can return after being sidelined the last two weeks by contact tracing protocols related to COVID-19, it should make an already productive offense all the more dangerous. Running back Demetric Felton Jr. is coming off career-best performances in consecutive weeks, including 206 rushing yards against Arizona.

Arizona State (392 ypg/27 ppg): The Sun Devils may have found their next star running back in Chip Trayanum, who became the school’s first freshman to run for multiple touchdowns in his debut since George Montgomery against Baylor in 1990. Trayanum ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns in 12 carries against USC.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson could be back for UCLA in its fifth game of the season against an Arizona State team that has only played once.

Getting defensive

UCLA (355.8 ypg/26.5 ppg): No story about the Bruins’ success in 2020 can be told without a heavy mention of their defensive improvement. They are constantly disrupting the quarterback, logging a Pac-12-best 12 sacks, and have been equally stingy against the run, giving up an average of 138.2 yards rushing per game.

Arizona State (556 ypg/28 ppg): One story line to watch will be the Sun Devils’ ability to generate turnovers after forcing 25 in the last eight games going back to last season, the most among any team in the nation over their last eight games. UCLA has committed four turnovers in each of its losses this season.

Something special

UCLA’s special teams put together their finest performance of the season against Arizona. Luke Akers downed four punts inside the Wildcats’ 20-yard line and Nicholas Barr-Mira made his first two field-goal attempts of 2020.

Of note

Arizona State’s throwback uniforms featuring a sunburst logo are from 1975, when the Sun Devils finished 12-0 and finished behind only Oklahoma in the final polls.

Injury report

UCLA coach Chip Kelly said defensive lineman Martin Andrus Jr., who continues to recover from a knee injury suffered last season, was out this week.


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