Now that the dust settled on Arizona State's improbable comeback victory over USC, it is time to hand out some positional grades for the Sun Devils. There were some units that stood out and there were some that struggled, see how each unit graded out Saturday night.
I usually do not give out many perfect grades but that is what Mike Bercovici was on Saturday night: perfect. The redshirt junior was 27/45 for 510 yards and five touchdowns. The key number is zero, as in zero interceptions thrown by Arizona State quarterbacks and zero turnovers by the Arizona State offense.
What made Bercovici's night even more impressive is that all those numbers came against the No. 9 passing defense in the nation. A backup quarterback, making his first career start on the road, threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns against a defense that had not allowed a passing touchdown in their first four games.
Bercovici at times looked out of sync with the receivers, throwing behind some receivers and too long to others. However, he also showed leadership and poise in crunch time, and that is something you cannot teach.
Running backs: C-
For the second straight week, the Arizona State running game struggled. The Sun Devils finished the game with just 31 rushing yards, averaging just 1.4 yards per rush. Most believed the key to attacking the USC defense would be runs to the outside, Arizona State was not able to run anywhere.
Inside runs were stopped by Leonard Williams and the athletic USC defensive line and outside runs were stopped by Su'a Cravens and the quick USC secondary.
Deantre Lewis led the Sun Devils with 15 yards on four carries. D.J. Foster carried the ball 10 times for just 13 yards. The Sun Devils have to find a way to be more balanced on offense, especially against teams like Stanford and Notre Dame.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A+
Jaelen Strong had perhaps his best game as a Sun Devils, finishing with 10 catches for 202 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning Hail Mary reception as time expired. Strong also drew a couple pass interference penalties and made tough catches in traffic all night.
Besides Strong, Cameron Smith caught three passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Gary Chambers and Ellis Jefferson each caught two passes and combined for 90 yards. Tight end Kody Kohl also caught three passes for 43 yards. It was the most complete game of the season from the receiving corps.
Offensive Line: B
For the majority of his dropbacks, Bercovici had a clean pocket and time to throw. The Arizona State quarterback was sacked just twice on Saturday night. However, the unit struggled in run blocking as they were blown off the line of scrimmage numerous times and had a difficult time creating holes for Sun Devil running backs.
The Sun Devils found some success in the second half, as Foster broke lose a few times running behind the right side of the offensive line, but for the most part, the offensive line struggled to when running the football.
Defensive Line: C
The defensive line continues to struggle to create pressure. The Sun Devils finished with three sacks yesterday, however two of those came from linebackers Laiu Moekiola and D.J Calhoun. Marcus Hardison recorded the only sack for defensive line.
The Trojans also torched the Sun Devils for 220 yards on the ground, including 143 and two touchdowns coming from Buck Allen. The Arizona State defense was getting gashed in the second half, especially in those final drives in the fourth quarter by USC.
Calhoun played his best game as a Sun Devil, totalling nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Salamo Fiso also finished with nine tackles and Demtrious Cherry and Antonio Longino combined for six total tackles.
Christian Sam finished with five tackles, however he missed a few key tackles late that would have been brought up more had the Sun Devils lost.
Jordan Simone finished with 20 tackles, including 12 solo tackles. It is becoming pretty clear Simone is the best player on the Arizona State defense. Damarious Randall finished second on the team with 13 tackles last night and Lloyd Carrington finished with 10 tackles. The Sun Devils did a good job holding the USC playmakers in check most of the night. No USC receiver finished with more than 85 receiving yards.