ASU: Facts and Factors

UCLA and ASU come into Saturday with matching records, while first-year ASU head coach Todd Graham has gone beyond expectation so far...

• UCLA travels to Tempe, Arizona, to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday. The game is lated for 12:05 PT, and will be televised by FX, with Craig Bolerjack and Joel Klatt in the booth and Petros Papadakis on the sidelines.

• UCLA and Arizona State are both overall 5-2. UCLA is 2-2 in the Pac-12, and ASU is 3-1.

• ASU's only win over a team with a winning record was against FCS Northern Arizona -- meaning, the Sun Devils have yet to beat a FBS team with a winning record.

• If you throw out Northern Arizona, the opponents that ASU has beaten are a combined 7-21 on the season.

• Even one of ASU's two losses was against a team, Missouri, with a losing record.

• ASU is coming off a loss at home against #3 Oregon, 43-21. The game wasn't actually as close as the score, with Oregon leading 43-7 at halftime. The Ducks used back-ups in the second half.

• UCLA and ASU do have common opponents. UCLA got trounced by Cal in Berkeley, while ASU beat the Bears in Berkeley, 27-17. UCLA beat Utah last week in the Rose Bowl, 21-14, while the Sun Devils beat the Utes in Tempe, 37-7. UCLA and ASU both beat up on Colorado.

• The series between the two schools goes back to 1976, with UCLA leading 17-10-1. The series has largely alternated wins in the last several years, with ASU have won three of the last five. UCLA is 7-5 in Tempe.

• The Bruins have only won once in Tempe (in 2006, 24-12) in the last 21 years.

• In those three losses, UCLA has given up an average of a whopping 47 points per game.

• Last year, UCLA beat then #20-ranked ASU in the Rose Bowl, 29-28, with UCLA mounting a game-winning second half drive behind the running of Derrick Coleman, and ASU missing a last-second field goal attempt.

• ASU is coached by first year helmer, Todd Graham, who had coached previously at Pittsburgh, and then Tulsa and Rice prior to that. He is 54-31 overall as a head coach, having just one losing season in at those three previous stops. He is generally considered a defensive-minded coach, having been a defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa before becoming a head coach. Graham is praised for the job he's done at ASU, taking one of the youngest teams in the FBS that was expected to finish toward the bottom of the Pac-12 to a 5-2 record so far. He has gained a bit of a reputation for being a little difficult, and somewhat of an opportunist, leaving both Rice and Pittsburgh for greener pastures after coaching there just one season each.

• Arizona has started off games fast, outscoring opponents in the first quarter 69-32 on the season, and shutting out five opponents. ASU has also closed out games well, allowing just 7 points on the season in the fourth quarter, outscoring opponents 78-7.

• ASU's offense is definitely a quick-strike one, with 27 of its 39 scoring drives this season coming in three minutes or less. It went the entire game against Illinois without one scoring drive longer than three minutes.

• ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly leads the conference in passing efficiency (166.97), which is also eighth best in the nation.

• ASU, as a team, leads the Pac-12 in pass efficiency defense (90.8), pass defense (130.43), passing efficiency (173.93), quarterback sacks (4/game) and tackles for loss (9.43/game).

• UCLA Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone, of course, served as ASU's offensive coordinator the two previous seasons (2010 and 2011). UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard spent those same two seasons at ASU before coming to UCLA.

• Both Mazzone and Broussard coached many of ASU's players, including quarterback Kelly.

• On ASU's staff is former UCLA offensive line coach Bob Connelly, coaching in Westwood in 2007.

• UCLA is one win away from being bowl eligible. It would be the first time UCLA became bowl eligible in October since 2005.

• Arizona State, in 2011 started 5-1, exactly like this season, before getting beaten soundly by Oregon. The Sun Devils would desperately like to avoid this season what happened last season after it lost to the Ducks: It went on to lose five of its next six games (the only win being against Colorado), finishing the season 6-7. The loss to UCLA started the string of five consecutive defeats to end the season.

• Whoever wins Saturday's game could be in the best position to challenge USC for the Pac-12 South title. If UCLA won it would be tied with ASU in the Pac-12 South at 3-2, with very similar schedules remaining for both. Both teams have to still play USC, Washington State and Arizona, while UCLA has to play #17 Stanford at home, and ASU has to go on the road to face #7 Oregon State.

• Perhaps one of the best defensive lineman in the nation, ASU's Will Sutton is questionable for the game Saturday, after suffering a knee injury. He's listed "week to week." Sutton, of course, had high interest in UCLA in high school when he was at Corona (Calif.) Centennial, but the Bruins didn't offer him, mostly due to academics. He actually sat out the Arizona State season in 2010 because of poor academics.

• Saturday's weather forecast for Tempe calls for a high of 88°.

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