Kelley has career-high 4 TDs, UCLA beats No. 24 Arizona St.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — UCLA coach Chip Kelly has often said that when running back Joshua Kelley plays well, the Bruins have a shot of winning.
The senior running back had a career night Saturday, which is why the Bruins were able to beat a Top 25 team for the second time this season. Kelley scored a career-high four touchdowns and rushed for 164 yards in UCLA’s 42-32 victory over 24th-ranked Arizona State.
Kelley has rushed for over 100 yards in three of the past four games. He is the first Pac-12 player and fourth nationally this season to have four rushing touchdowns in a game.
“We needed a win here for sure. That was extra incentive for us,” said Kelley of the Bruins first home victory. “Us getting back-to-back wins is big for our young core.”
Kelly is also the first Bruin with four ground TDs since Myles Jack against Washington in 2013. He helped fuel a UCLA ground game that had 217 yards, marking the first time since 2014 it has had four straight 200-yard games.
“I think when everyone in the stadium knows you are going to run it and you are still able to do it, that’s a credit to the whole group,” Kelly said.
The Bruins (3-5, 3-2) scored on five of their first six drives, including four consecutive possessions from late in the first quarter to midway in the third to roar out to a 35-7 lead after it was tied at 7.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 16 of 23 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore injured his left leg after being hit on a scramble during the fourth quarter and did not return. Kelly didn’t have an update on his quarterback.
While UCLA showed signs of improvement in this matchup of two of the four youngest rosters among Power Five teams, Arizona State is experiencing growing pains.
The Sun Devils (5-3, 2-3) have dropped two straight for the first time this season in what Herm Edwards called the worst in his two years at the helm.
“We just didn’t play our game. First half, you just seen we weren’t ourselves,” said quarterback Jayden Daniels, who accounted for all four Arizona State touchdowns. “As an offense, we were just out of character. That wasn’t our offense that we’re used to.”
Daniels was 20 of 29 for 271 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdowns. He also rushed for 67 yards, including a 1-yard sneak during the first quarter that tied it.
Eno Benjamin, who came into the game fourth in the Pac-12 in rushing average, was held to 46 yards on 13 carries. Frank Darby had six receptions for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“Obviously, the game didn’t start out like we anticipated,” Edwards said. “We fell behind and faced a big deficit, but for me it was more than just the score. It was our emotions. We didn’t handle them very good. I just felt like we had no energy early in the game.”
KELLEY’S FOUR SCORES
Kelley is averaging 135.3 yards in his last four games after mustering just 52 per game in his first three. He opened the scoring with 10:53 remaining in the first quarter on a leap over the middle from 1 yard. The touchdown came five plays after Elisha Guidry recovered Benjamin’s fumble at the Sun Devils 42.
The senior had 100 yards in the first half, including a 5-yard TD late in the first quarter and a 16-yard run up the middle midway through the second quarter as the Bruins took control. Both of those runs capped 16-play possessions, which is the first time the Bruins have had a pair of scoring drives of 15 plays or more since a game against Texas in 2014.
He extended UCLA’s lead to 35-7 with 10:40 remaining in the third quarter with a 15-yard touchdown.
Arizona State: Edwards was happy his team showed some spark in the second half and wasn’t completely run out of the Rose Bowl, but there are plenty of corrections his staff has to make going into the bye week.
“To the player’s credit they played a lot better in the second half,” he said. “But to play a game like that, since I’ve been here I’ve never been involved in that. I don’t know what that is. I can’t explain it.”
UCLA: The Bruins have won consecutive games for only the second time in Kelly’s two-year tenure and are only a game back in the South Division.
“The best thing I can say is that the Baby Bruins are growing up and it’s fun to see,” Kelly said. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but they’ve gotten better week by week.”
Arizona State: Has an off week before hosting USC on Nov. 9. The Sun Devils are 5-4 against the Trojans after they lost 11 straight from 2000-10.
UCLA: Host Colorado next Saturday. The Bruins have won six of the seven games played at the Rose Bowl.