Here’s an odd trend for you: Arizona State (3-2, 1-1) has won or lost all of its games by double digits this season.
The low points? Losing by 21 to Texas A&M and by 28 to USC, which are currently ranked No. 9 and No. 17, respectively. The high point? Beating then-No. 7 UCLA, 38-23, on the road this past weekend.
So, what do we make of the Sun Devils’ season?
“It’s been a roller coaster so far obviously,” Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Starting off against Texas A&M, we took a step back, but every week progressively we’ve gotten better as a unit. We stumbled against SC, but I think what defines us as a team was last week – just going into the Rose Bowl and finding a way to get a hard victory. We’ll keep rolling. Every week’s a new week and we’re just trying to go win every week.”
Arizona State, a team that many picked to contend for the College Football Playoff, trailed Southern Cal 35-0 at halftime – at home, no less – before ultimately losing 42-14. After that, the season could have spiraled out of control.
But it didn’t, as the Sun Devils responded with an impressive two-score win over previously unbeaten UCLA. Arizona State got a safety late in the first quarter, scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive and took it from there.
Bercovici finished 27-of-44 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 37 yards and a score.
What was the difference that night? How were the Sun Devils able to put the debacle against USC behind them so quickly?
“We had some pretty intense team meetings,” Bercovici said. “Coach (Todd Graham) came into the room and he wrote the day January 11th on the board – that’s the day of the national championship – and he said, ‘There’s going to be some people in here that don’t believe we can make this date, but there’s enough in here that believe that we can.’ I think that really set the tone. We just got to bring it every single week and good things will happen. Having fun was the message. He cranked up the music to start practice and we just got after it. In college football, the way you practice is the way you play – and we believe that.”
Arizona State hosts Colorado (3-2, 0-1) this Saturday before a monumental clash with No. 5 Utah (4-0, 1-0) on Oct. 17. Both games kick off at 10 p.m. ET.