If the "White Out" theme in the Arizona State Sun Devils' matchup on Friday against the New Mexico Lobos held any preconceived notions as to whom the player of the game might be, Tim White was definitely a candidate. White proved an integral piece to the surging ASU offense in its 34-10 victory at Sun Devil Stadium.
However, he shared the spotlight with Demario Richard, who dominated the field in a record-breaking performance that propelled his team to victory.
"Demario obviously did a great job," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "I think it was the most yards in school history for a running back receiving. Over 100 yards rushing and over 150 yards receiving, that's pretty good night. I am very proud of him. He is one the hardest working guys on our team. He has probably matured more than anyone on the team. It means something to him. He wants to be great."
White and Richard traded roles as both the catalyst and closer tonight and provided the one-two punch that kept the chains moving with one explosive play after next.
Of ASU's 449 total yards, 331 of them came from the powerful tandem. And 151 of those came off four of Richard's receptions.
Richard rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries and set a school record for receiving yards in a game for a running back with four catches out of the backfield that totaled 151 yards (37.8 yards per catch) with two of them touchdowns.
"He runs with an attitude and he runs through the tackles," Graham said. "He finishes off runs and he's a competitor. I know there are not that many running backs that can say they had a night like that, that's pretty impressive."
Despite another underwhelming first-half performance that saw ASU go into the locker room up only ten points, it was both Richard and White that helped to slowly bring the ASU offense alive with the explosive plays, which Graham said were lacking in his offense earlier this week in practice.
"Offensive line and wideouts were playing full speed and when we do that we feel like we can't be stopped," Bercovici said.
White got the momentum going by drawing first blood for the Sun Devils after an acrobatic cut at the 5-yard line that put the first six on the board.
The redshirt junior transfer from College of the Canyons gave another spark to start the second half with a 34-yard kickoff return that preceded a five-play, 66-yard drive. Richard followed it up with a 33-yard reception to give the Sun Devils their second touchdown of the game.
After that, Richard took over.
The Sun Devils were able to effectively triple their yards per quarter, registering 157 in the fourth as compared with 56 in the first, mainly backed by Richard's improved rushing game. Richard finished the game with 104 rushing yards of his own.
"Offensively we started hitting our stride," Graham said. "We needed that second quarter, where we did some nice things there. We came out and got in our rhythm. And then in the second half, we did a good job in the third quarter, as well. I am very proud of our guys. I thought they played very well."
Richard put the nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter when he caught a short pass, midfield from ASU's own 7-yard line on a third down and ten attempt, and found a lane up the sideline all the way to the end zone.
This could be the explosiveness that Todd Graham talked of earlier this week and pumps hope back into an offense that seems to be improving despite still dealing with injury and timing as they enter Pac-12 play.
ASU's offense could sure use De'Chavon Hayes and D.J. Foster, who was banged up during the game, to help Richard in the backfield. In the meantime, though, Richard accepts the offense of carrying the load and is excited for things to come for the unit.
"We'll be healthy and once we are healthy this offense is really going to start building," he said.