Todd Graham

Game Week: UCLA v. ASU Facts and Factors

Oct. 4 -- It's the rubber game of the match between UCLA's Jim Mora and ASU's Todd Graham, being 2-2 against each other. The road team has won the last four games in the series...

• UCLA travels to Tempe to take on Arizona State Saturday, Oct. 8th, at 7:30 PST.  The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Allen Bestwick and Mike Belotti in the booth and Kris Budden on the sideline.

• UCLA is 3-2, 1-1 in the Pac-12, while ASU is 4-1 and also 1-1 in the Pac-12.

• Arizona State started the season 4-0 and there was a notion about the Sun Devils being worthy of a national ranking, until falling to Earth last week when they were pretty soundly beaten by USC, 41-20.   USC led the game 41-6 to start the fourth quarter.  Three of ASU’s victories came against Northern Arizona, Texas Tech and UTSA, who have a combined record of 5-8. 

• UCLA’s two losses came against two teams, Texas A&M and Stanford, currently ranked in the top 25. Last week both were ranked in the top ten.   

•  UCLA leads the all-time series against the Sun  Devils, 19-12-1, but since 1992 the series is 11-10 in favor of ASU. 

•  In each of the last four games in the series, the road team has won.

•  UCLA won two years ago in Tempe in one of Jim Mora’s best victories of his UCLA tenure, trouncing the Sun Devils 62-27, the second biggest margin of victory in the series (the biggest being UCLA’s win in 1994, 59-23, which was also in Tempe).  In last year's game, Ishmael Adams returned a kickoff 100 yards and an interception 95 yards for another score as the Bruins put up the most points by a visitor in the 55-year history of Sun Devil Stadium.

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• Last year, #7-ranked UCLA lost in the Rose Bowl to then un-ranked ASU, 38-23. 

• This is the first time since 2012 that neither UCLA nor ASU is ranked heading into the game.  UCLA has been ranked in the three most-recent games with Jim Mora at the helm, and was ranked ahead of ASU in all of those three years. 

•  UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is making his mark on the UCLA record books, now seventh in completions (405), eighth in passing yardage (5,183), and ninth in touchdown passes (31) and total offense (5,158). Rosen posted the ninth 300-yard passing game of his career against Arizona last week, one behind Brett Hundley for second in UCLA history.

• UCLA hasn’t let up a rushing touchdown in its last two games, the last being in the 3rd quarter of the BYU game.

•  Todd Graham (51) is in his 5th season in Tempe, posting a 38-20 record in that time.  He put together two 10-win seasons in a row in 2013 and 2014, which hasn’t happened at ASU since 1972 (Coach Frank Kush posted four in a row, in an era when teams played one less game for the season).   Graham’s 30 victories in his first four seasons is only the third time an ASU coach has accomplished that.   In 2013, in just his second year, he led ASU to the Pac-12 South Championship, and was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.  Being in his fifth year at ASU marks the longest time he’s spent as a head coach at any program, spending one year at Rice, four years at Tulsa and one year at Pittsburgh before coming to Tempe.  Being from Texas, Graham’s name sometimes pops up in connection with open head coaching jobs in that state.  Graham is known for very aggressive, attacking style of defense – along with a flat-top haircut and a penchant for hyperbole about his team and players.

• Last season, when ASU finished 6-7, it was only the second losing season Graham has ever posted in 11 years of being a head coach (going 5-7 in his third year at Tulsa in 2009). 

• Graham makes $3.1 million per year, which ranks him in the lower-half of Pac-12 coaching salaries (7th). Jim Mora’s $3.45 million per year ranks him third (behind Washington’s Todd Petersen’s $3.6 million and the $3.8 million it is speculated that Clay Helton makes at USC). 

• Graham and Mora were part of the 2012 Class of New Pac-12 coaches, both currently in their fifth seasons with their respective programs.  They are 2-2 against each other, with this Saturday being the current rubber game of their head-to-head match-up. 

• Both teams statistically are pretty much mirror images of each other. UCLA’s offense is ranked 9th and ASU’s 5th in the Pac-12, while UCLA’s defense is ranked 4th and ASU’s dead last, 12th. 

Rendering of Sun Devil Stadium after completed renovation

• Sun Devil Stadium has a seating capacity of 56,232 and uses natural grass for its playing surface, at least currently.  The stadium is in the middle of a multi-phase renovation that started in 2015 and will finish in 2017 (the phases being done mostly in the off-season). It will cost $300 million, and will include the rebuilding and updating of different parts of the bowl, a new video board, a new 360-degree concourse,  some improved seats (with backs), installation of turf, and a new athletic facility.

• This weekend is fall break for ASU students so a big student turn-out is not expected.  The ASU student section was a big factor in rattling Cal quarterback Davis Webb. ASU is trying to fill seats with $10 guest passes and groups.  

•  The betting line opened with UCLA -4 and has moved to -10. 

• The weather forecast calls for a high of 91 degrees in Tempe on Saturday, with a game-time temperature in the mid-80s. 

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