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Dominant Second Half Leads Sun Devils Past #20 UCLA, 42-23

Oct 2, 2021

PASADENA - The defense pitched a second-half shutout and the offense rode five 40-yard plays as Sun Devil Football knocked off #20 UCLA on the road Saturday night, 42-23, in Pasadena in a pivotal Pac-12 South clash. 

The 19-point victory is the second-largest on the road over an AP-ranked opponent in program history, topped only by a 21-point win at No. 20 BYU in 1994. ASU is now 6-6 under Herm Edwards against AP-ranked opponents. 

Jayden Daniels threw for 286 yards on just 13-of-18 passing with two touchdowns and no picks. Rachaad White added yet another multi-touchdown effort while DeaMonte Trayanum found the back of the end zone in his first game back since the opener. 

ASU rushed for 172 yards against a UCLA team that entered the game fifth in the nation in allowing just 64 rushing yards per game. It was ASU's 10th straight game with over 150 yards on the ground - its longest streak since 12 games between 1975-76.   

Ricky Pearsall picked up a pair of 50-plus yard touchdowns with a career-high 132 yards on four catches. 

ASU averaged 9.0 yards per play and picked up five plays over 40 yards - three of which coming on touchdowns - after entering the game with just one all season. 

After allowing 280 yards of first-half offense to the Bruins, ASU shut down the potent UCLA attack in the second half with just 152 yards allowed and no points. Kyle Soelle led the way with a career-high 13 tackles while Deandre Pierce and Darien Butler added nine each. 


With the game still in the balance and ASU clinging to a nine-point lead with UCLA starting the fourth quarter deep in Sun Devil territory, ASU lost Kyle Soelle to a targeting penalty and Darien Butler briefly to cramps. With a slew of younger players on the field due to the injuries and losses, ASU picked up a pair of huge goal line stops from Jordan Clarke and Eric Gentry to force a turnover on downs. ASU would then take nearly eight minutes off the clock as it drove 96 yards on 12 plays to effectively put the game away, making it 39-23 with under seven minutes remaining. The Sun Devils sealed the deal with three consecutive sacks on the ensuing UCLA drive, forcing another turnover on downs and would coast to victory from there.  


  • ASU had five plays over 40 yards in the game after entering the contest tied for the sixth-fewest 40-yard plays this season with just one.
  • ASU is 2-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2012 while ASU kept UCLA from starting Pac-12 play 2-0 for what have been the first time since 2013.
  • ASU has held opponents to less than 30 points in 25 of 35 games under Herm Edwards. UCLA had entered the contest with 30+ points in nine of its last 11 games and had scored 35+ in six straight games. 
  • UCLA had been outscored by just 18 points total in its five previous losses prior to its 19-point loss tonight. 


First Quarter

UCLA converted two third-and-shorts on the opening drive of the game but ASU was able to hold the Bruins to a field goal. Michael Matus recovered a fumble on UCLA's second drive of the game and ASU drove to the UCLA one but a pair of goal line stuffs and a penalty would limit ASU to a field goal. The two teams would finish the frame tied at 3-3.

Second Quarter

UCLA again capitalized on a fourth-down conversion and two third-down conversions - the later coming on a short touchdown pass to cap off a 12-play, 75-yard drive to go up 10-3 on the first play of the second quarter. The Sun Devils immediately responded, taking a shot on the first play from scrimmage with a 46-yard sling from Daniels to Geordon Porter to get into UCLA territory. Trayanum capitalized six plays later on a six-yard touchdown rush on third down to even things back up at 10-10 with 11:59 left in the frame. The blows continued to trade as UCLA came right back down the field on six plays, 73 yards in 1:48 picking up a first down on the goal line after a video review and scoring immediately after to retake a 17-10 lead. This paragraph is going to be massive ASU came right back on an incredibly well-blocked wide receiver screen on the ensuing possession as Daniels found Ricky Pearsall for a 65-yard pass keyed by pivotal blocks from LV Bunkley-Shelton and Jalin Conyers on the perimeter to make it four touchdowns in the first 6:34 seconds of the second quarter and a 17-17 game. ASu would force a fourth-down and punt situation on the ensuing UCLA drive but had too many players on the field, leading to a 4th-and-1 and a conversion for the opponents which UCLA would capitalize with three points later in the drive to make it 20-17 with 3:51 remaining in the half. Again, ASU had an answer. Again, that answer was Ricky Pearsall as Daniels found him down the field for a 54-yard touchdown just over a minute later to give ASU its first lead of the game at 24-20. ASU gifted UCLA three points to end the half after muffing a punt at the eight-yard line with four seconds left to send things into halftime with ASU up 24-23. 

Third Quarter 

It was another big play for the Sun Devils to make things a two-score game as the Rachaad White turned what looked like it would be a rush for a loss into a 49-yard touchdown rush, breaking several tackles on ASU's opening drive to make it 32-23 early in the second half.  

Fourth Quarter

The fourth quarter featured a huge shift of momentum after ASU leading tackler Kyle Soelle was ejected for targeting on the final play of the third quarter and Darien Butler went down with cramps as UCLA drove inside the ASU five-yard line. But a pair of pivotal goal line stands on third and fourth down as Jordan Clark and Eric Gentry stuffed Dorian Thompson-Robinson on a pair of read-option plays to give ASU the ball back. The Devils put together their biggest drive of the season from there as Daniels found Curtis Hodges for a 48-yard gain out of his own end zone and ASU drove 96 yards on 11 plays while eating up 6:52, culminating in a Rachaad White one-yard touchdown rush to make it 39-23 with 6:43 remaining. After neither team had a sack all game, ASU sacked Thompson-Robinson three times on the ensuing possession - two by Anthonie Cooper and one by Stanley Lambert to put the finishing touches on the contest, getting the ball back on the UCLA 25-yard line with 4:35. ASU tacked on a field goal and got another turnover on downs to ice the game.