Arizona State capitalized on good field position and bad tackling to close the gap to three.
After a UCLA punt gave the Sun Devils the ball at their 49-yard line, Brock Osweiler threw a 19-yard completion to Deantre Lewis and followed two plays later with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Mike Willie. Willie split Akeem Ayers and Tony Dye around the 10-yard line, then slipped an Alex Mascrenas tackle to get into the end zone.
That was a quick response.
Just over a minute after UCLA went up 17-7, Arizona State jaunted down the field – the big play on a Brock Osweiler to Deantre Lewis pass that went for 70 yards – and scored on an Osweiler-to-Aaron Pflugrad 5-yard touchdown pass.
Just to explain the lack of basketball coverage this week; I traveled with the football team to Arizona State, rather than with basketball to New York, per my editors. It is more important to finish this beat, even though the team is struggling.
Here are some various stories in advance of today’s matchup with VCU:
When the football season started, I predicted a record of around 6-6, but more likely 5-7, and around an 8th-place Pac-10 finish.
Despite some talented players and continuity in the coaching staff, the schedule was daunting and there was little room for error. If everything worked out perfectly, maybe – MAYBE – seven wins. As we have found out, the room was filled with error.
Flash forward to basketball season, and I want to issue another proclamation. Don’t get your hopes up too high.
To get this out of the way: Villanova is a fantastic basketball team, and UCLA is not at that level yet. I say yet, because there is a lot of talent on the Bruins, and it could come around to a top level at some point this year. Don’t consider Wednesday’s loss a low point.
But with so many things countering the talent increase – a penchant for turnovers, depth issues, defensive miscues – there are simply going to be some baffling losses this season.
With Brendan Lane questionable for today’s game against VCU with a knee injury, it is a constant reminder that this team is perilously thin. Combine that with Joshua Smith’s continual foul issues and this team will have trouble at times against even the least-imposing Pac-10 teams.
I’m not saying don’t be optimistic about this basketball season, but I’ve seen and heard some people talking about a deep NCAA tournament run, or a Pac-10 championship, and that’s just not probable, despite any talent advantages.