Gonzalez gets record, Arizona State holds off UCLA 23-20
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State sputtered offensively through the first half and lost another quarterback to injury in the second.
Good thing the Sun Devils have the most prolific kicker in college football history.
Zane Gonzalez kicked three field goals to become the NCAA’s all-time leader and Arizona State grinded out a 23-20 victory over UCLA Saturday night despite losing back-up quarterback Brady White to a right leg injury.
“You’re talking about a monumental accomplishment there,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said of Gonzalez. “I’m proud of Zane. That’s huge.”
Gonzalez hit from 35, 23 and 46 yards to reach 89 career field goals , passing Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins, who had 88 from 2009-12.
Arizona State (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) needed all of those after struggling offensively in the first half and watching White limp off with a right leg injury in the fourth quarter.
Making his first career start with Manny Wilkins out, White had some shaky moments, but led the Sun Devils on four scoring drives in the second half.
He finished with 179 yards passing and a touchdown with an interception, but couldn’t put any weight on his leg after being injured in the fourth quarter.
“Hopefully, we’ll get good news on Brady, but it doesn’t look good,” Graham said.
UCLA (3-3, 1-2) had a strong defensive game, holding the high-scoring Sun Devils to 275 total yards.
Offensively, the Bruins had trouble getting out of their own way.
UCLA had four turnovers and missed on two scoring opportunities in the first half, when JJ Molson missed a pair of field goals.
The worse news could come from the training table.
The sophomore was unable to come back after injuring his right shoulder on a hard hit in the fourth quarter. He threw for 400 yards on 24-of-43 passing with an interception.
“Josh is beat up. He is beat up,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “He has taken some horrible hits because we can’t protect for him.”
It didn’t help that the Bruins couldn’t run the ball at all, finishing with minus-1 yard rushing on 23 carries.
With no running threat to worry about, Arizona State was able to ramp up its pressure on Rosen, repeatedly knocking him to the ground.
“We can’t run the football at all,” Mora said. “When you can’t run the football and you have to throw every down then they can pin their ears back and come after you, which they do. Unfortunately we couldn’t protect tonight, either.”
UCLA: The Bruins struggled offensively most of the night even when Rosen was in and they could be in bigger trouble if the sophomore is out for an extended time. UCLA also must find some way to get its run game rolling or there could be more games like this.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils moved into a tie atop the Pac-12 South with Colorado and Utah, but need to get Wilkins back. Arizona State’s defense gave up more big plays in the passing game, but came up with the big stops when it counted.
Not only did Gonzalez break the NCAA record , his final kicked ended up being the game-winner. The senior had to give it a little body english, but the 46-yard kick early in the fourth quarter curled just inside the upright.
“It wasn’t exactly the best kick; I was pretty nervous about it, looking at it the whole way,” Gonzalez said. “It was a perfect snap, a perfect hold and I didn’t hit it the best. I was watching it the whole way and (holder Matt Haack) was hitting me on the back.”
UCLA plays at Washington State.
Arizona State plays at No. 21 Colorado next Saturday.