Eds. This is the second half recap on top of the first. Check the site throughout the day Sunday for more postgame analysis.
What happened to end Saturday night will forever go down as one of the most memorable finishes in Arizona State football history.
Bercovici completed a 26-yard pass to Gary Chambers down to the USC 46-yard line and spiked the ball with 10 seconds left. The Sun Devil signal caller then rolled out right, and heaved the ball down the right side of the field. It landed in Jaelen Strong's hands as time expired to give the maroon and gold the 38-34 win.
But how did it get there?
USC started the half with the ball, and drove over midfield but penalties brought the drive to an abrupt stop. Arizona State picked up the tempo on the next drive as Mike Bercovici hit Gary Chambers and D.J. Foster for 20 and 29 yard completions and the Sun Devils found themselves at the USC 8-yard line. Gary Chambers drew a pass interference call to bring Arizona State down to the 2, but the maroon and gold couldn't convert and Alex Garoutte gave the Sun Devils the lead back 18-17 on a 20-yard field goal.
USC answered on the next drive. Cody Kessler connected with Nelson Aghalor for a 24-yard pick up to the Arizona State 33-yard line but couldn't find the end zone. Andre Heidari kicked a 33-yard field goal and the Trojans took the lead back 20-18 with 3:45 left in the third quarter.
The Sun Devils faced third and four from the 50-yard line when Jaelen Strong dropped what was questionably a catch that wasn't reviewed. Arizona State punted and the third quarter came to a close.
Javorius Allen owned the next drive for USC, rushing for 71 yards, but it was Cody Kessler who found the end zone on an 8-yard rush to put the Trojans up 27-18. Arizona State was forced to punt on the next drive and as USC began on their own 19 yard line, it became apparent it was "do or die" for the Sun Devils.
The Trojans proceeded to run all over the Sun Devils, chipping down to the Arizona State 31-yard line with nine straight runs and only two passes. USC elected to punt on fourth and six and the Sun Devils started with the ball on their own two. Jaelen Strong caught a 29-yard pass out to midfield and made another 14-yard catch. Bercovici connected with Ellis Jefferson on a 17-yard reception and then hit D.J. Foster for a 21-yard score to bring the score to 27-25.
Both teams then struck again quickly. Allen scampered 53 yards for a touchdown and then Bercovici connected with Cameron Smith on a 73-yard pass to put the score at 34-32. Arizona State was able to stop USC one last time as Kessler pooch punted and the Sun Devils got the ball back on their own 28 with 23 seconds left.
Then the magic happened. Bercovici connected with Strong to send the Sun Devils home with the most improbable of wins.
The first drives by both teams saw quarterbacks trying to outdo each other, but not in the usual way. After a stalled Arizona State drive, Mike Bercovici dropped back and kicked a pooch punt, which was downed at the 1-yard line. USC drove to the Arizona State 47-yard line, then Kessler tried to pooch. It did not go as well as Bercovici's and landed in the end zone.
When the actual punter came out is when things went south for the Sun Devils. Matt Haack kicked it away, but USC's Nelson Agholor was underneath it. Agholor got a hole and ran with it, all the way to the house for a 53-yard touchdown.
The best thing one could say about Arizona State's next drive is that it was not returned for a touchdown. Quick three-and-out, and USC had the ball back right away. Same story on the next drive. The Sun Devils punted on all four of its drives in the first quarter.
After the first 15 minutes, USC led 7-0, with Agholor's return the only score in the frame.
The second quarter started off better for Arizona State. It received a punt to start the drive from on its own 27, completed two pretty passes to tight end Kody Kohl, then went to Ellis Jefferson for 28 more.
Bercovici got his team to the USC 4-yard line, then found his trusty receiver Jaelen Strong for a 4-yard touchdown to tie the game with 11:41 left in the half. It was the first passing touchdown USC had allowed all season.
The Sun Devils would not stop there. After a big defensive stop, they got the ball back and didn't wait around to methodically move down the field. Strong got lose, and Bercovici hit him in stride for a perfect 77-yard touchdown pass.
Capitalizing on the momentum, Arizona State lined up with most of its offensive line outside the left hash for the two-point conversion. Bercovici took the snap and hit Kohl on a quick snap to convert. Arizona State led 15-7.
After stopping USC once again, Kyle Middlebrooks was called for running into the punter to extend the drive. USC capitalizing, with Buck Allen running in a 4th-and-goal for a touchdown. The Trojans settled for one, and trailed 15-14 with 2:49 left in the half.
After a 35-yard field goal, USC went into halftime with a 17-15 lead.