The Arizona State University Sun Devils look to earn the program’s first college football win over the UCLA Bruins in three years on Saturday night.
The Sun Devils and Bruins will meet in the Rose Bowl at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time, with Fox Sports 1 carrying the contest live nationally.
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It’ll be ASU’s third game since sports betting in Arizona launched on Sept. 9.
ASU Road Underdogs on Saturday Night
The lowest betting margin for the Sun Devils (3-1) this season came in Week 3, when they were favored to beat the BYU Cougars by 3.5 points, in a game ASU ultimately lost, 27-17.
Before that, ASU was favored by 34.5 points (against UNLV) and 44.5 points (against Southern Utah), with the Sun Devils failing to cover in both instances.
The Sun Devils rolled over Colorado in the team’s Pac-12 opener on Saturday, 35-13, nearly doubling the -14 pregame spread in the process.
Stacking Up the UCLA Bruins
Herm Edwards’ team should face a much tougher test this weekend, however, versus a UCLA team that beat Stanford in Palo Alto, 35-24, last weekend.
The Bruins only blemish this season came against Fresno State, which rallied late to beat UCLA in Pasadena, 40-37.
Prior to that, UCLA beat Hawaii (44-10) and LSU (38-27), matching the Bruins’ win total from last year’s abbreviated seven-game schedule.
The Bruins have won their last two meetings against ASU, 25-18 and 42-32, with the Sun Devils' last win at the Rose Bowl coming in 2015.
Who to Watch on UCLA
UCLA has one of the nation’s best two-way offenses, averaging more than 200 yards a game passing (234.3) and just under 200 yards a game on the ground (193.8) this season.
The Bruins' offense runs through senior QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is having his best season in Westwood to date.
The fourth-year starter under UCLA head coach Chip Kelly has thrown for 919 yards this season, with nine touchdown and one interception.
The senior has dialed back his rushes this year, gaining a modest 118 yards on 45 carries, after gaining 578 yards with seven touchdowns in his first three seasons.
The Las Vegas native is coming off his best game of the year, statistically, completing 62.1% of his passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinal, to go with 30 yards and two scores on the ground in UCLA’s 11-point victory in Palo Alto.
The Bruins’ other big-play threat is running back Zach Charbonnet, who is averaging 7.8 yards a carry with seven touchdowns this season.
Charbonnet’s 360 yards this season are by far the most of any Bruins back, followed by Brittain Brown, who has 263 yards on 47 carries for UCLA.
Wide receiver Kyle Philips has 16 catches for 294 yards, hauling in five of UCLA’s nine touchdown receptions.
The Jayden Daniels Show for ASU
Perhaps the most notable achievement for Arizona State in its 35-13 romp over Colorado last Saturday was the performance by third-year starting QB Jayden Daniels.
Daniels entered the season with more than 3,500 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in 16 career starts, but failed to live up to the hype in his first three games of 2021.
That’s because Daniels entered the season with +1400 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, per DraftKings Arizona, but has seen those odds balloon to +10000.
The junior has just two touchdown passes through four games and has thrown three interceptions this season.
Daniels’ running exploits have been impressive at times, including scoring two touchdowns in the team’s win over Colorado and gaining 125 yards against UNLV.
He still only has accounted for four touchdowns this season, however, and faces off against a UCLA defense that’s giving up just 64 rushing yards per game this season.
If Daniels can’t open the Sun Devils’ rushing attack with his arm, then ASU could be in for a long night on Saturday.
We’ll see how Daniels and Co. handle being an underdog for the first time in 2021, under the bright lights of the Rose Bowl.
One way or another, either ASU or UCLA will leave Pasadena with a 4-1 record for the year. Whether it’ll be the Sun Devils or Bruins rests on the performance turned in by Daniels and Dorian-Robinson come Saturday night.