PASADENA, Calif. — Redshirt freshman Kevin Prince passed for 161 yards, UCLA’s defense accounted for two touchdowns and set up a field goal, and the Bruins beat Arizona State 23-13 Saturday to become bowl eligible with their sixth win.
Prince was 15 for 31 with no interceptions and no TDs for the Bruins (6-5, 3-5 Pac-10), whose last postseason appearance was a loss in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl. They won their third straight, and will visit crosstown rival Southern California next weekend in a bid to solidify their selection to a lower-tier bowl.
When UCLA’s defense wasn’t scoring, it forced six turnovers.
ASU’s (4-7, 2-6) hopes of being extended a bowl invitation were dashed with its fifth consecutive loss. The Sun Devils averaged 15 points during the skid. They finished 1-4 on the road this season, only beating Pac-10 doormat Washington State.
ASU’s Kyle Williams had six catches for 128 yards and two TDs, including a 70-yarder in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Samson Szakacsy, the Devils’ third quarterback of the season, was 15 of 22 with one interception and two touchdowns while getting sacked four times in his first career start. Dimitri Nance was ASU’s leading rusher with 21 carries for 110 yards.
Chane Moline led UCLA with 84 yards rushing on 25 carries. Nelson Rosario had six catches for 81 yards.
Williams’ second TD reception pulled Arizona State to 23-13 with 11:47 remaining in the game. The 2-point conversion failed when Jovon Williams dropped Szakacsy’s pass on the goal line. Thomas Weber also missed a 43-yard field goal wide left in the third.
The Bruins outscored ASU 13-0 in the second quarter and overcame 11 penalties for 100 yards in their home finale at the Rose Bowl in front of 46,151. Kai Forbath kicked two of his three field goals in the second.
Szakacsy was sacked by Brian Price for an 11-yard loss, causing a fumble that was recovered by Akeem Ayers at the ASU 9-yard line. Ayers reached across the goal line with the ball as he fell, extending UCLA’s lead to 16-7.
On Arizona State’s ensuing kickoff, Sean Westgate recovered a fumble by Jamal Miles at the ASU 18. UCLA capped its possession with Forbath’s 20-yard field goal for a 20-7 halftime lead.
Forbath hit a 22-yard field goal earlier in the second quarter to give UCLA a 10-7 lead.
The Sun Devils tied the game at 7 on Szakacsy’s 35-yard TD pass to Williams with 51 seconds remaining in the first. Szakacsy lofted the pass under pressure to Williams, who dove into the end zone.
UCLA scored first on Alterraun Verner’s 68-yard interception return at 11:47 of the opening quarter. It was the senior cornerback’s school-record fourth career interception return for a TD.
Prince was briefly replaced by Kevin Craft after being shaken up early in the fourth, but he soon returned.