Okay, so that one may have been a bit closer than most of us anticipated. Regardless, the Sun Devils came away with the win, that's all that matters. In fact, even in what was an odd showing by the team as a whole, there were enough strong individual performances that we had to actually narrow it down to these four players in this week's edition of Game Balls.
Tim White, WR (No. 12)—Redshirt Junior
On ASU's final scoring drive, White's performance was comparable to the effect of a multipitch-hurling closer entering the game and finishing off a fleeting team, infused with the flare and crowd-arousing gamesmanship of a high-flying dunker on a fast-break left all alone in transition. He can absolutely fly, and ended the game with two catches for 23 yards and a 59-yard run on a jet-sweep, followed by a game-sealing four-yard touchdown reception.
White suffered through a hand injury and missed the Texas A&M game. Let's hope this is only the beginning for a player many expected to be an exciting addition to the Sun Devils offense. Well done, Mr. White.
Demario Richard, RB (No. 4)—Sophomore
For the most part, the true sophomore looked like the "Baby Beast Mode" we all have been looking forward to see take charge of the bell-cow tailback role against the Mustangs. Richard went on to set a career high during the win, carrying the ball 25 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
There were no fumbles nor drops this week for Richard (albeit, he had no receptions), however he did sustain an injury during the third quarter, but returned prior to the start of the fourth. All-in-all, it was a good game for Richard as a whole and something we can expect moving forward.
Laiu Moeakiola, LB (No. 28)—Redshirt Junior
The Sun Devil defense was faced with the daunting task of containing an offense whose scheme was predicated around the battering triple-option, and Moeakiola was a key factor in helping keep the Cal Poly offense in check. On the Mustangs' first drive of the fourth quarter (which was preceded by an Arizona State missed field goal, and the score tied 21-21), Moeakiola made a huge tackle for a loss on the ball carrier which went on to stalling the drive. The Sun Devils would get the ball back three plays later, then score on the ensuing drive.
On the Mustangs' final drive, Moeakiola made the game-sealing tackle on a fourth-and-one attempt with 1:23 remaining. Those two big plays capped off a solid performance from the redshirt junior, as he came away with 11 tackles (8 solo), including three for a loss.
D.J. Foster, RB (No. 8)—Senior
Against Cal Poly, Foster was back to his usual high-productive self, totaling 134 all-purpose yards (76 rushing, 58 receiving) and finding the end zone early in the game. By recording a reception during the contest, Foster's streak of consecutive games with a catch (42) places him at second all-time in school history in that particular category, only trailing John Jefferson (44).
Should he log a reception next week against New Mexico, Foster will have an opportunity to tie the record versus USC, then surpass the total against UCLA.