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ASU Football: Mike Bercovici, Jaelen Strong complete impossible comeback

Can you believe it?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


This game was over.

Arizona State was facing an impossible task. The team was down 34-32, 73 yards away from the end zone and only 23 seconds to get there.

This game was over.

But nobody told Mike Bercovici. And nobody told Jaelen Strong.

Bercovici took the snap at the 46-yard line and had time to throw. The clock ticked down to zero and there was no chance of stopping and kicking a field goal. Bercovici wound up, Bercovici unleashed a bomb downfield. Strong had a beat on it.

Strong came down with the catch. The referee raised his hands in the most glorious way for Sun Devil fans.

And suddenly, this game was over.

Here's a listen, courtesy of Tim Healey and the Sun Devil IMG Sports Network:

It was an impossible task, but it happened.

The drive started with an incomplete pass. Bercovici tried for Cam Smith, but didn't quite make it there. Time ticked down.

The next throw was a beauty. USC was in a prevent defense, giving up the middle of the field to protect the sidelines. Bercovici saw the middle of the field, and took it, connecting with Ellis Jefferson for 26 yards to the 46-yard line.

The clocked stopped on the first down with 10 seconds left, and if it was the NFL there wouldn't have been enough time. The team was out of timeouts; Todd Graham used his final one with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter. As soon as Arizona State was set, the referee waved his arm. Bercovici snapped it and spiked it down. Seven seconds remained.

The Sun Devils were faced with a choice. They could try a quick out route and get themselves into field goal range, but they had a problem. Their regular kicker, Zane Gonzalez was not at the Coliseum. He was back in Arizona for personal reasons. Alex Garoutte would be the kicker.

It didn't matter after the snap. Once Bercovici didn't immediately look to the sidelines, there was only one play. There were five Trojans near the end zone, and only three Sun Devils.

It wasn't a jump ball like most Hail Mary plays. Strong was still running his post route from the right side of the field. Bercovici was standing at the left hash and hurled it just to the right of the opposite hash, exactly where Strong was finishing in route.

He caught in stride, and then, bedlam. No one could believe it. Not Bercovici, not Strong, not the Trojan defenders, and not the stunned Coliseum. But when everyone looked up, the Sun Devils won 38-34.

This game was over.

asu celebration

The Sun Devils celebrate the impossible win (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)