Bercovici’s 5 TD passes lead Sun Devils over Buffaloes 48-23
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The college football regular season is halfway over for Arizona State, and the Sun Devils seem content where they stand.
A 48-23 win over Pac-12 South foe Colorado Saturday night helped bring about the good feeling, as Mike Bercovici tied a career high with five touchdown passes and Tim White set career highs with seven catches for 144 yards and two scores.
Bercovici completed 20 of 31 passes for 260 yards and threw an interception before giving way to Manny Wilkins with 8:31 left in the game. One of Bercovici’s scores came off a deflected ball that landed in White’s hands and went 45 yards.
ASU (4-2, 2-1) won its second straight conference game on the heels of a 38-23 upset of then-No. 7 UCLA last week. No. 5 Utah on the road is next on the schedule.
The Buffaloes (3-3, 0-2) lost their 13th straight conference road game, stretching back to the 2012 season, and are 0-7 all-time against the Sun Devils.
”We came out and dominated a team we should dominate,” ASU coach Todd Graham said. ”We’re right where we need to be. It’s like anything. You’ve got to win a lot of close football games. We’re six games into this thing and we have six left. If we can win all six of them, then that’s exactly where you want to be.”
Arizona State got a couple of fortunate bounces, including its first drive of the game. Demario Richard swerved in and out of tacklers on a short run and fumbled the ball forward toward tight end Kody Kohl who scooped it up and ran into the end zone.
Richard, a sophomore, later left the field on crutches and his status going forward is unknown, Graham said.
The next break came early in the third quarter, on White’s TD catch of CU cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon’s deflection, giving the Sun Devils a 31-10 lead.
”He’s a high-energy guy,” Bercovici said of White. ”Tim’s a heck of a route-runner so it’s no surprise to see him in the end zone.”
ASU defensive end Antonio Longino had eight total tackles and 2 1/2 sacks, including one in the third quarter where he forced a fumble that led to a Sun Devils field goal.
Colorado’s Sefo Liufau had 389 yards passing, with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Devin Ross in the third quarter and an interception thrown early in the first. Kareem Orr stepped in front of Liufau’s floater and returned it 30 yards to the Colorado 15. That set up Bercovici’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Kohl with 8:33 left, giving ASU a 14-0 lead.
Liufau had a 42-yard hookup with Sean Irwin where the tight end hung in for the ball despite the impending hit from a Sun Devil defender. It set up Phillip Lindsay’s nifty 16-yard run touchdown run. Lindsay started inside then cut to the outside to get into the end zone and cut ASU’s lead to 14-7 with 7:12 to go in the first.
That was as close as Colorado would get for the rest of the game, as White caught Bercovici’s 38-yard touchdown pass to top off a two-play, 47-second possession and give ASU a 24-7 lead.
Diego Gonzalez kicked a 27-yard field goal for Colorado to trail 24-10 at halftime.
Arizona State scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the third quarter, the second on Bercovici’s 10-yard completion to senior Devin Lucien, the first of his college career.
D.J. Foster caught Bercovici’s fifth touchdown pass, a 12-yard connection early in the fourth quarter.
Foster added 80 yards rushing. The ASU defense sacked Liufau eight times as the Sun Devils improved to 21-9 in Pac-12 South play since 2012.
”They are known for that,” Liufau said of the Sun Devils pressure. ”They bring one or two guys off the edge. We had some things to counter that but we just didn’t execute.”
Lindsay’s 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter made the score 41-23. Lindsay’s 51 yards rushing led Colorado. Shay Fields had five catches for 103 yards.