Arizona State made it two wins in a row, beating the New Mexico Lobos 34-10 on Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium. Here are five things we learned.
Offense feeling rich: Though Demario Richard had over 100 yards rushing against Cal Poly last week, Friday night was his coming out party. Injuries have ravaged this offense and the Sun Devils really needed Richard to shoulder the load. He did that and more against the Lobos, racking up 259 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. ESPN Stats and Info tweeted after the game that Richard became the first FBS player with 150 rec yds & 100 rush yds in the same game since North Texas’ Lance Dunbar in 2011.
Berco uses his legs: Something woke up Mike Bercovici and company late in the second quarter which led to their first touchdown drive of the game. Part of the reason? He started using his legs. He didn’t do much running in the first two games which made their read option offense somewhat predictable. That changed as Bercovici had eight rushes on the night, one of which went for a score. His teammate and roommate Jordan Simone says he has full confidence in Bercovici’s running ability and compared it to Michael Vick in Madden 2000…
You the real MVP: The offensive issues to this point have been well documented but the defense overall has played well this season. ASU did a fantastic job against the tricky and frustrating triple-option that New Mexico runs. After the game, Graham stated that spur linebacker Laiu Moeakiola has been the MVP of the team with how he has played. He was a large reason why the Lobos weren’t able to get anything going out on the perimeter. Sophomore Tashon Smallwood was the man anchoring the inside for the Devils.
White Hot: Jalaen Strong is in the NFL, Cameron Smith is out for the season with a knee injury, D.J. Foster has been banged up and Devin Lucien left friday’s game with a left knee injury. The wide receiving depth has really taken a hit and someone has to step up and make plays. Tim White made the big plays down the stretch in the Cal Poly game and picked up where he left off against New Mexico. White had four catches for 42 yards and the first touchdown of the game for the Devils. He also contributed on special teams. White has big play speed and if offensive coordinator Mike Norvell can find ways to get him out in space, White could make up for the injuries and lack of depth.
Over it: Enough with this triple-option stuff! Graham said after the game that he is tired of it. The team, while much more disciplined on Friday, seemed over it too. They had no way of knowing when they scheduled these two games back-to-back years ago that this is what they would face. Now it’s time for the team to focus on the type of offenses they will see in the Pac-12. It starts right away with one of the top programs in the country in USC, which comes to Tempe next Saturday.