Black Friday is still two months away, but the Arizona State Sun Devils experienced a Black Thursday in their first conference home game of the 2014 season.
Turnovers, missed tackles and a typical dominant performance from quarterback Brett Hundley led to UCLA’s 62-27 demolition of ASU (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in front of a “Blackout” home crowd Thursday night.
Filling in for injured QB Taylor Kelly, redshirt junior Mike Bercovici was effective for most of the evening — but in the final minute of the first half, he made a mistake that permanently turned the tide of the game.
With ASU trailing 20-17 but driving deep in Bruins’ territory, Bercovici threw an interception to defensive back Ishmael Adams that was returned 95 yards for a score with two seconds remaining before halftime.
It was all UCLA (4-0, 1-0) from that point. Hundley connected with wide receiver Jordan Payton for an 80-yard TD pass on the first offensive play of the second half, and Adams added a 100-yard kickoff return following an ASU field goal to give the Bruins a 41-20 edge less than six minutes into the third quarter.
The Bruins outscored the Devils 56-10 in the game’s final 48 minutes.
Here’s how ASU suffered its first defeat of the 2014 season, by the numbers:
Stat of the game: ASU turned the ball over four times, while the Bruins had a turnover-free night.
UCLA recorded five plays of at least 80 yards Thursday — three on offense, one on defense and one on special teams — thanks in part to some poor Sun Devil tackling.
Following his 146 receiving yards on Thursday, ASU junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong has nine 100-yard games in just 17 NCAA appearances. Strong’s 12 receptions tied a career high.
ASU’s first kickoff return of the season was not a memorable one, as freshman Kalen Ballage returned a UCLA kick for just 15 yards in the first half.
After compiling 510 rushing yards in his first three games of the season, ASU junior running back D.J. Foster was limited to just 30 yards on nine rushes. Foster did also contribute 68 yards on five receptions — but 14 touches don’t seem like nearly enough for an explosive player like him.
42 and 68
In a losing effort, Bercovici set ASU single-game records with 68 pass attempts and 42 completions. He threw for 488 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed six times for 17 yards.
In their 38-33 win over UCLA that put them in the 2013 Pac-12 Championship game, the Sun Devils limited Hundley to just five rushing yards, sacking him nine times in the game. On Thursday, Hundley rushed eight times for 72 yards — 26 more yards than the Devils’ leading rusher, senior Deantre Lewis.
Hundley improved upon his season completion percentage mark of 70.4 by completing 78.2 percent of his passes (18-of-23) Thursday. Hundley threw for 355 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
UCLA’s 62 points are the most that ASU has surrendered in a single game since its 77-28 loss at Nebraska on Sept. 16, 1995.
A record 12,996 ASU students attended Thursday’s game. The total attendance figure was 60,876.