No. 11 UCLA Bruins (3-0) vs. No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT, Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Ariz.)
TV: FOX Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: AM 570 / SIRIUS 108 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Coach: Remember when Todd Graham looked like the biggest turncoat in college football?
A little more than a year ago, ESPN’s anonymous poll of 92 college football players found that 14 percent said Graham was the last coach they’d want to play for — beating out Lane Kiffin by three percent.
But Graham only needed two seasons to win a Pac-12 South title, endearing himself to the Arizona State fan base and pushing his messy departure from Pitt deeper into the newspaper archives. ASU has compensated him handsomely for that success — paying him around $800,000 in performance bonuses for the 2013 season.
QB Mike Bercovici, Jr., 6-1, 200 — 9/17, 79 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 7 carries, 12 rushing yards
— Once considered Brock Osweiler’s heir apparent until Taylor Kelly won out, Bercovici finally gets his chance to start in the wake of Kelly’s foot injury. He’s not the same type of running threat as Kelly (ASU’s second-leading rusher at 19 carries for 168 yards) but Bercovici has a strong arm and has been in the program for years.
RB D.J. Foster, Jr., 5-11, 205 — 54 carries, 510 rushing yards, 5 TD, 11 catches, 139 receiving yards, 1 TD
— Looks like a workhorse back capable of racking up yards after contact. Averages 216.3 all-purpose yards per game, good for second in the country and one spot ahead of Georgia’s Heisman candidate Todd Gurley.
WR Jaelen Strong, Jr., 6-3, 215 — 19 catches, 266 yards, 2 TD
— Broke out with a big 2013 season (75 catches, 1,122 yards, 7 TD), and remains far and away Arizona State’s most dangerous receiver.
S Damarious Randall, Sr., 5-11, 190 — 27 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble
— All but one of his team-high 27 tackles are unassisted, giving him the conference lead in solo tackles and the No. 2 spot nationwide.
S Jordan Simone, Jr., 6-0, 195 — 23 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble
— A former walk-on, Simone not only won a scholarship but has looked like one of ASU’s best defensive players early on. Returned an interception 29 yards against Colorado, setting up a three-play touchdown drive.
Scouting report: The loss of Taylor Kelly obviously hurts the Sun Devils significantly. The senior was one of Jim Mora’s favorite players in the conference. Just before the season, Mora said of Kelly: “That’s a big-time player that no one ever talks about. That kid is something else. I love him. I don’t like playing against him, but I love him. He gives me headaches.” … After losing nine starters from a defense that ranked fifth nationally with 33 takeaways, ASU has recovered four fumbles to go with two picks. … Arizona State leads the conference (and ranks 13th nationally) with 304.3 rushing yards per game, but has played weak slate so far. Weber State is an FCS that hasn’t won more than two games since 2011, while Colorado and New Mexico rank 99th and 128th in run defense, respectively. … The offensive line looks much better than it did last season. Left tackle Jamil Douglas is an athletic freak, and ASU isn’t shy about pulling guards Vi Teofilo and Christian Westerman to key its run game. Sun Devils have given up four sacks after allowing 40 in 2013. … Zane Gonzalez was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection as a freshman, but has missed two of his 18 extra-point attempts this season.