TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The UCLA Bruins are making a late bowl push.
They can only hope it's not too late.
Behind a dominant defensive performance, UCLA became
bowl-eligible with a 24-12 victory over Arizona State Saturday
night. But the Bruins (6-5, 4-4 in the Pac-10) may still need to
upset crosstown rival Southern California Dec. 2 in Pasadena to
earn a postseason invitation.
"This was real big," said wide receiver Brandon Breazell, who
caught two long touchdown passes from Patrick Cowan. "We were
really focused on getting bowl-eligible, and we talked about that
for the second half of the season."
ASU (6-5, 3-5) is already bowl-eligible but may need to beat
arch rival Arizona in Tucson next week to nail down a bid.
"It makes it huge, that's for sure," ASU coach Dirk Koetter
said. "I don't know if you can make it any bigger than it is
The Bruins limited ASU to 264 total yards and sacked ASU
quarterback Rudy Carpenter five times. Late in the first quarter,
Bruins cornerback Trey Brown intercepted a Carpenter pass and
returned it 19 yards to the ASU 1, setting up a 1-yard plunge by
tailback Chane Moline.
"Our defense did a nice job today of really containing their
offense," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "We put pressure on the
quarterback. They ran the ball decently against us, but we covered
them real well."
UCLA's offense didn't do much, but it didn't have to. Most of
the Bruins' production came on two touchdown passes from Cowan to
Cowan, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 187 yards, teamed up
with Breazell for a 56-yard touchdown that gave UCLA a 7-0 lead
midway through the first quarter. And he hit Breazell for a 35-yard
score with 6:41 left in the game to put the Bruins up 24-12 and
sealed the victory.
The Bruins were at their best deep in their own territory.
Arizona State had 12 offensive snaps inside the UCLA 10-yard line
and managed only two field goals.
"The main factor in the game was we didn't finish in the red
zone," said Koetter, whose team failed to score a touchdown for
the first time since its 27-0 loss to California on Oct. 30, 2004.
"If we finish with touchdowns instead of field goals, then we're
The Sun Devils' Jesse Ainsworth kicked four field goals, one shy
of the school record.
"I'm not used to kicking four field goals," said Ainsworth,
who kicked that many a week ago. "I wish we could have scored
It was a rare defensive struggle for teams that had combined to
score at least 80 points in three of their last four meetings.
ASU missed a chance to take its first lead of the game on the
opening possession of the second half. The Sun Devils drove 57
yards for first-and-goal at the UCLA 4, but had to settle for
Ainsworth's fourth field goal to cut UCLA's lead to 14-12.
The Bruins responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended
with Justin Medlock's 24-yard field goal. The key play came when
the Bruins lined up to punt at their own 27. The snap went to
fullback Danny Nelson, who ran 27 yards to the ASU 46.
Facing a relentless pass rush, Carpenter completed only 11 of 30
passes for 149 yards and one interception. It was the fourth
interception in three games for Carpenter, who had gone 75 passes
without an interception earlier this season.
"Their blitzes were tough," Koetter said.