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Instant Recap: Sun Devils outlast Cal Poly, win 35-21

It was a struggle, but ASU played just well enough to beat the Cal Poly Mustangs.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Eds: This is our instant recap written chronologically, with the second half then the first half. Our full game recap with quotes and analysis will be available later tonight.

After allowing a late touchdown in the first half, ASU entered the third quarter looking to finally establish its dominance against Cal Poly. That didn't happen.

Cal Poly opened up with the ball and found continued success on the ground, advancing to the Sun Devil red zone thanks to a series of first down runs from Chris Brown and Kyle Lewis. However it was the previously-absent Mustang passing attack that finished the job, as Brown found tight end Reagon Enger in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Throughout the remainder of the third quarter the two teams traded punts and missed opportunities. ASU drove down to the Cal Poly goal line just to see Mike Bercovici throw an ill-fated attempt that Cal Poly easily picked off in the end zone. The third quarter disappeared without another score, as the Arizona State passing attack was silenced, and Arizona State entered the final period of what was supposed to be a cupcake game in a 21-21 battle.

ASU opened the fourth quarter with the ball and embarked on a ten play, 70-yard drive that saw Bercovici connect with three different receivers on. But Arizona State's execution in the red zone faltered, and ended up sending out trusty kicker Zane Gonzalez out for a 28-yard field goal. Of course, Gonzalez promplty missed the field goal and the game remained at a deadlock until ASU's next drive.

Taking over at the Cal Poly 46-yard line following a poor Mustangs punt, D.J. Foster kick-started the drive with a 14-yard run, and a pass interference penalty called on the defense advanced the drive to the Cal Poly 14. Two plays later Bercovici found Kody Kohl with a perfect strike for a touchdown to pull ASU ahead of the Mustangs at 28-21.

ASU shut down the triple option on Cal Poly's next drive, forcing a punt and taking over with a chance to put the game on ice. Tim White, a junior college transfer earning his first chances as a Sun Devil, connected with Bercovici for a 19-yard pass and then a designed run for White found a seam and the new Sun Devil scampered for 59 yards before Cal Poly was able to trip him up. Despite preventing the long touchdown, the Mustangs defense couldn't keep White out of the endzone as Bercovici found him over the middle for a four yard score to increase the lead to 38-21 and secure the victory.

First Half

It took until ASU's second drive of the night to find a rhythm, but once Mike Bercovici and the offense did, wasn't long until they found paydirt. After punting on its opening drive, Bercovici led the Sun Devils on a nine-play, 77-yard march to the end zone that culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Foster.

A consistent dose of Demario Richard was followed by a 30-yard strike to Gary Chambers that set the Sun Devils up in the Cal Poly red zone.

ASU wasn't able to mount a scoring drive before the end of the quarter but the changes at offense were notable. D.J. Foster made the touchdown catch to start the scoring but spent the rest of the period operating mostly from the halfback roles, finding a couple holes for double digit gains on drives that ultimately ended as punts. At the end of an electric first quarter ASU had yet to take charge of the game but led 7-0.

ASU opened the second quarter with a 20-yard connection from Bercovici to Devin Lucien, and Foster's 16-yard rush placed the Sun Devils within striking distance of the end zone. Demario Richard found his way into the end zone to cap off the drive, making a pair of Cal Poly defenders whiff on his 13-yard scamper to put ASU up 14-0.

Instead of rolling over and letting the Sun Devils take command, Cal Poly pieced together an impressive drive spurred by the strong performance of running back Jared Mohamed. His runs of 26 and 17 yards, respectively, set the Mustangs up deep in ASU territory and Joe Protheroe punched it in from four yards out for the score, muscling through a pair of ASU tacklers to reach over the goal line and secure the score.

ASU's first positive special teams moment came on the ensuing kickoff, as 'Gump' Hayes nearly broke away for a touchdown in the eventual 57-yard return that gave ASU the ball in Cal Poly territory.

Bercovici took a sack on first down and missed his receiver on second down, but a 16-yard strike to Kody Kohl moved the chains and an 11-yard completion to Lucien placed the Sun Devils just outside of the Mustang end zone. Demario Richard's name was called again and he came through yet again, scoring from six yards out to increase the lead to 21-7.

The Sun Devils looked to be in control but a Kohl fumble on a catch-and-run ended a drive early and gave Cal Poly an opportunity to pull within one possession headed into the locker room. After a 10-play, 46-yard drive that consisted of short runs, Chris Brown scored from one yard out to give the Mustangs hope headed into the half, trailing only 21-14