Arizona State v. Cal Poly: The Bright Spots


Hard to imagine a Todd Graham team being unprepared two games in a row, but on Saturday night that was the case. For three-and-a-half quarters Arizona State had no answer for the Cal Poly triple option. Eventually, their offense put together just enough to get the job done and the defense finally turned it around and ASU went on to win by a final of 35-21.

More from Heat Waved

With 4:07 left in the ballgame and only leading by a touchdown, it was an unlikely hero that stepped up for Arizona State to push the game out of reach. Tim White, a redshirt junior stepped up in a big way pushing the Devils downfield with a 59 yard rush and then completed the drive with a 4 yard touchdown pass from Mike Bercovici.

His emergence came at a perfect time.

Just minutes earlier, it was early in the fourth quarter and Cal Poly was trending nationwide. The boo-birds were out, the newly improved double-inferno student section was emptying and the faith of every Arizona State fan had completely collapsed.

Every aspect of the game struggled; their offense was inconsistent and Mike Bercovici once again looked uncomfortable at times, the defense was gashed for over 300 yards in the ground game, and special teams had two fumbles. All of this came against at team that had never played a game against an active Pac-12 opponent.

While they were already up one touchdown, it was White that was the spark in the Devils final drive and put the game away for good. But White wasn’t the only contributor. Overall the wide receiving group had an all-around solid game. Seven different receivers grabbed a pass and, despite some inconsistency from quarterback Mike Bercovici, made big improvements from the Texas A&M game. Junior transfer Devin Lucien grabbed 7 passes for 79 yards, DJ Foster racked up 59 yards and a touchdown on 6 catches, and tight end Kody Kohl racked up another touchdown in his second straight game.

Even with the loss of Kalen Ballage, the Devils rushing game made strides rushing for 248 yards thanks to a solid performance from Demario Richard. Richard knew he would need to step up and in practice this week when asked about his potentially increased load he said he’d be fine with whatever the coaches had up their sleeve. Well they handed him a bulk of the load and he shouldered the burden like a champ rushing for 121 yards and two touchdowns. DJ Foster jumped into the action and ran his way to 76 yards, averaging over six yards a carry.

These were the bright spots in what was otherwise a very disappointing and genuinely conceding game heading into New Mexico on Friday. It’s not time to press the panic button in Tempe, but unless things change, the Sun Devils could be in for a rough awakening when they go up against USC in two weeks.