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ASU vs. Washington State: Positional Grades

The running backs and special teams groups were the lone bright spots for another disappointing game for the Sun Devils.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Our positional grades for the Arizona State Sun Devils' 38-34 loss to the Washington State Cougars:

Quarterbacks: C-

Another rough day at the office for Mike Bercovici. He still gets a 'C-' for contributing a touchdown run, but he was still hesitant all day against the Cougars, whether he was in the pocket or trying to make running plays of his own. He finished 27-for-44 in the air with no touchdown passes and one interception, while ending up with -2 rushing yards despite finding the endzone.

Running Backs: A-

This is the second week in a row ASU's rushing tandem of Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage broke out for big games, but the Sun Devils failed to win. Both tailbacks found the endzone once, with Richard taking 18 carries for 111 yards while Ballage rushed 14 times for 84 yards.

Despite the two averaging 6.09 yards per carry, it's confusing why ASU continues to go away from them, as Bercovici threw 27 of his 44 passes in the second half.

Wide Receivers: D

D.J. Foster finally got going — albeit still a subpar performance compared to the rest of his career — with 71 rushing yards on a team-high seven catches. Richard had the second-most receptions on the team with six for 16 yards. Other than that, everyone was pretty absent throughout the day.

Offensive Line: B

Once considered as a liability to Arizona State at the beginning of the season, it's now pretty unfair to fault this group every time the Sun Devils lose at this point of the year. Despite allowing three sacks to a solid Washington State front-seven, the ASU offensive line gave several key blocks for Bercovici, Richard and Ballage.

Defensive Line: B

A bright side for Arizona State's defense is it held Washington State to just 15 rushing yards, and the defensive line sacked Cougars quarterback Luke Falk twice. Still, the Cougars only rushed 17 times and are the last team you'll think about, and Falk continued to look comfortable in the pocket. More pressure on Falk certainly would have changed things up.

Linebackers: C-

A huge sack from D.J. Calhoun was the lone silver lining in another rough day for the Sun Devils' linebackers. ASU had voids to fill as Viliami Moekiola and Anthony Longino left several parts of the game due to injury. The linebackers provided no coverage in the middle as Falk burned the Sun Devils' on slant passes all game.

Defensive Backs: D+

True freshman Kareem Orr continues to shine by nabbing his fourth interception. Other than that, the Sun Devils' secondary didn't provide any more answers for Washington State's passing game, as Falk went off for 497 yards on 36-for-55 passing and five touchdowns. ASU allowed three Cougars to record six catches or more, including Dom Williams, who broke out for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

It's certainly a concern when your safety — in this case, Jordan Simone — has more than double the amount of tackles than the second-highest tackler.

Special Teams: A-

Punter Matt Haack looked like a better passer than Bercovici as a 27-yard pass to Foster on a fake punt continued a failing drive in the third quarter, and had this punt that got the main SB Nation site excited:

Zane Gonzalez, who went 2-for-5 last week against the Oregon Ducks, converted his only field goal of the day from 22 yards away. The special teams did their job, and not much more could be asked out of them on Saturday.