I don't think anybody saw Cal Poly and their triple option giving Arizona State that much trouble. The Mustangs bruised ASU on the ground for a majority of the game, but it was the Sun Devil offense that was able to march to the endzone twice in the fourth quarter and Todd Graham's defense got the stops when they needed to for the 35-21 Sun Devil victory.
It wasn't pretty and ASU didn't leave the game unscathed but as Graham said, "It’s a win, I’ll take all the ugly wins we can get."
In that mentality, let's grade some positions and move on to New Mexico.
Quarterbacks: B- There were two instances that dropped Bercovici's grade down from an otherwise solid performance. Before the end of the first half, he completed a pass to Kody Kohl and waited for the play call. The clock ticked and ticked which gave the booth time to decide to review whether or not Kohl fumbled the ball.
Turns out, Kohl did fumble the ball and Cal Poly went down and scored on a 10-play, 46-yard drive after the turnover. This is a fixable mistake that comes with more experience, but Bercovici has to be aware that they need a quick play to avoid a booth review in situations like that. The second knock on Bercovici's game was the interception on the throw intended for Devin Lucien.
Bercovici strred Lucien down and thought Lucien would be able to come back for the ball, but it was picked off by Cal Poly in the endzone. Other than those two plays, Bercovici showed solid poise in the pocket and the tremendous leadership we've come to know from him late in the game.
Running Backs: A - This grade was bolstered by the addition of D.J. Foster in the backfield with an injured 'Gump' Hayes and a sick Kallen Ballage. Even without Foster, Demario Richard had a good performance in his own right. Richard ran the ball 25 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
He didn't fumble and ran with a lot of force out of the backfield. The combination of Richard and Foster, until Ballage is healthy, should be more than enough against New Mexico.
Offensive Line: B - The offensive line only gave up one sack in the game and was able to give Richard some nice holes to run with, but Cal Poly did finish with four tackles for loss. There was some improvement and they have another game in New Mexico to build chemistry but there's still a ways to go before they go up against USC.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C+ - There weren't any glaring problems with the wide receivers, but there wasn't a standout player either. Tim White emerged toward the end of the game as a decent option in the slot, Lucien showed some good hands, and Kody Kohl is a solid red zone target but we have yet to see a deep threat option in this wide receiver group.
We already know Foster can be dangerous however he gets the ball, but nobody has shown that they can break out for a Berco Bomb yet.
Defensive Line: D - Cal Poly's triple option was steadily marching the Mustangs down the field throughout the game. 284 rushing yards and two touchdowns against while the only two sacks that both came from a linebacker isn't going to get any defense a good grade. The only tackle for loss from the defensive line was a play where Tashon Smallwood jumped the snap perfectly. The line needs to get some more pressure and be able to stop New Mexico's run game to show improvement before USC.
Linebackers: B+ - No turnovers, but the linebackers showed they will still be the heart and soul of this defense. Very few runs got past the unit and Christian Sam has shown that he's got the potential to be a mainstay in this Sun Devil defense for the rest of his collegiate career. Antonio Longino was all over the field and Laiu Moeakiola finished the game with three tackles for loss.
A turnover would have bumped the grade to an A, but an otherwise good outing for the linebackers.
Defensive Backs: C+ - The defensive backs didn't have to do too much because of the triple option but they did let up a 21-yard touchdown pass on a broken play, something that can't happen against better passing teams. Jordan Simone finished with 12 total tackles, three of which were for a loss.
Simone is constantly around the action and is as crucial to this defense as anybody. Other than that, the backs seemed to have difficulty shedding the blocks set by the Cal Poly wide receivers on wide runs and that brings their grade down to the C+.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comment section below.