Joshua Kelley and the Bruins picked up right where they left off a week ago.
Behind three first-half touchdowns from the redshirt senior running back, UCLA football (2-5, 2-2 Pac-12) leads No. 24 Arizona State (5-2, 2-2) 28-7 at the half.
Kelley – who ran for 176 yards and a touchdown at Stanford on Oct. 17 – carried the ball 17 times for 100 yards in the first half minutes of Saturday’s matchup, eclipsing the century mark in rushing yards for the third time in the Bruins’ last four games.
Coming into Saturday’s matchup, Arizona State was ranked No. 18 among FBS schools in rush defense, allowing an average of just 100.1 rushing yards per game. Kelley and the Bruins posted 121 yards on the ground in the first half alone.
Meanwhile, Kelley’s counterpart in the game – Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin – helped kickstart things for UCLA after he fumbled the ball in his own territory on Arizona State’s opening drive, setting up Kelley’s first touchdown of the night just five plays later.
After a fumble by sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson inside his own 5-yard line a few minutes later allowed the Sun Devils to tie the game, the Bruins’ offense took control.
UCLA went on to score touchdowns on each of its final three drives in the half, capping things off with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson to redshirt freshman wide receiver Kyle Philips with just under a minute to go in the second quarter. Rushing touchdowns from Kelley accounted for the scores on the previous two drives.
Thompson-Robinson finished the half 11-of-15 through the air for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore running back Kazmeir Allen also made his season debut in the first half, carrying the ball twice for 5 yards. Allen missed the first seven games this season after being placed under internal academic probation.
The Bruins will receive the ball to begin the second half.