Matchup: #11 UCLA at #15 Arizona State (UCLA -4, 60 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Thursday, September 25th @ 10:00 pm (EST)
Location: Tempe, AZ (airing on FOX Sports 1)
Preview: The #11 ranked UCLA Bruins travel to Tempe Arizona to take on the #15 ranked Arizona Sun Devils under the lights on Thursday night.
To say that UCLA has been a disappointment thus far this season would be an understatement. They might be 3-0 but haven’t been the least bit impressive. They won at Virginia by 3 defensive touchdowns, and then were taken to the brink at home by Memphis, even after dropping in the polls. In their last game in Texas, they escaped with a 3 point victory as QB Brett Hundley was knocked out of the game with a left arm injury, and backup Jerry Nueheisel came in to help the Bruins grind out the win. Brett Hundley’s status is currently up in the air and there currently is no word out of UCLA.
Arizona State has been impressive thus far, winning each of their games by an average of 27 points. The Sun Devils did suffer a major blow in their last outing against Colorado. Starting quarterback Taylor Kelly suffered a right foot injury, and backup Mike Bercovici took over to guide the Sun Devils to a 14 point victory. Bercovici has been at Arizona State for a while, and actually beat out Taylor Kelly for the backup job in 2011. In 2012 he was viewed as the potential starter, yet Kelly won the job in camp. The Sun Devils are having a lot of success on the ground behind junior running back D.J. Foster, who has tallied 568 yards while averaging an astounding 9.8 yards per carry.
With or without Hundley, I’m taking the home dog on Thursday night. A night game on national TV in Tempe is a hostile environment and with Taylor Kelly being out, I expect the rest of the Sun Devil squad to step up their game to support Bercovici. Even with Hundley playing, I don’t see UCLA’s offense breaking out all of a sudden. They’ve been inconsistent, and I don’t see it all of a sudden clicking, especially when Hundley has been limited in practice. I believe that Arizona St will be able to have success running that ball, and while UCLA has been better against the run, it hasn’t been against elite competition. Stat wise, the two teams are neck and neck when it comes to total defense, with both teams allowing a little over 390 yards per game. Arizona St beat UCLA on their home turf last year, and if UCLA had been more impressive earlier this season, I’d probably be more inclined to take UCLA here. They just haven’t lived up the hype though and are very fortunate to be undefeated at this point. I think their luck runs out on Thursday night in Tempe.
2014 Week 5 NCAA Football Picks: Arizona State +4, Under 60
UCLA at Arizona State Score Prediction: Arizona St. 27 – UCLA 24