Data Scout Notes: 2014: 1stC...PMaxwell/PBiletnikoff/DS#1PSTeamProspect-RRang...2013: 2ndC...2013 3* JUCO
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11/11/14 - What appeared to be a program-defining win in the first half had turned on Arizona State. The Sun Devils were on their heels, a 31-point lead down to three with a few minutes left, another spirit-crushing loss seemingly on the way. But something changed in the Sun Devils. They didn't back down from the challenge. They rose up, finding a way to pull out the kind of victory that had eluded them. Regaining composure after Notre Dame's furious second-half rally, No. 11 Arizona State scored three late touchdowns and bolstered its playoff hopes with a 55-31 victory over the eighth-ranked Irish on Saturday. "You're not going to be great without facing adversity," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "But I sure wish it was easier."
Since he arrived in the desert three years ago, Graham has told his players that to be in the national championship conversation, they would have to win games like this. The Sun Devils had struggled to come through in the big moments, often in disastrous fashion. Playing in one of the biggest home games in program history, Arizona State (8-1, No. 9 CFP) appeared to be headed toward a dominating victory, harassing Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson into three turnovers in a 4-minute span in the first half. Spurred by the momentum-swinging plays, including Damarious Randall's 59-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Sun Devils raced to a 34-3 lead against one of the nation's premier programs. - AP Sports
11/11/14 - Baylor, Arizona State and Ohio State all took big steps forward in The Associated Press college football poll after big wins, and Auburn dropped out of the top five after being upset. For the fifth straight week, the top two are Mississippi State (9-0) and Florida State (9-0). The No. 1 Bulldogs received 49 first-place votes Sunday. The second-ranked Seminoles have 12. Oregon jumped to No. 3 past Alabama, which remained No. 4. No. 5 TCU also moved up a spot. Baylor climbed four places to sixth after romping at Oklahoma, 48-14. Arizona State is up four spots to seventh after a 55-31 victory against Notre Dame. Ohio State moved five spots to No. 13 after beating Michigan State 49-37. Auburn fell 41-38 to Texas A&M, dropping the Tigers from third to ninth. Oklahoma dropped out of the rankings for the first time since the final poll of the 2009. - AP Sports
10/22/14 - Arizona State coach Todd Graham has pointed to Stanford as a model of what the Sun Devils should aspire to as a program: The character, the discipline, the efficiency and, certainly, the winning. But each time the teams met on the field, Arizona State fell flat, overrun by the powerful Cardinal. That's what made this one so sweet. Not only did the Sun Devils finally beat Stanford, they won in Stanford-like fashion. Dominating on both sides of the ball, the 17th-ranked Sun Devils cleared a big hurdle by racing past No. 23 Stanford 26-10 Saturday night. "To turn the tables and beat a team like that and dominate them physically the way we did, because of the respect we have for their program, that one meant more to me personally than any win we have had," Graham said.
The Cardinal had become a nemesis of sorts for Arizona State, powering past the Sun Devils in two games last season, including a dominating win in the Pac-12 Championship game. Arizona State (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) reversed the field against Stanford in the desert rematch with an efficient performance on both sides of the ball. The Sun Devils scored the most points allowed by the nation's top-rated defense behind a nice mix of run and pass. - AP Sports
10/08/14 - Arizona State shocks USC with miracle pass...The Hail Mary is becoming a Pac-12 staple, and on Saturday night Arizona State was the latest to become a believer. Junior quarterback Mike Bercovici completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaelen Strong as time expired to lift the Sun Devils to a stunning 38-34 Pac-12 victory over No. 16 USC before 70,115 at the Coliseum. "We practice that play every Thursday," said Bercovici, who passed for 510 yards and five touchdowns. "It was a little bit of a prayer, to be honest. I didn't think I got it that far. It looked like a little bit of a duck. I just needed to give ourselves a chance, and who else but the man Jaelen Strong would come up with it."
Strong cut inside two USC defensive backs and jumped up to make the catch, capping Arizona State's four-play, 72-yard drive in the final 23 seconds. Included were a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Gary Chambers and a spike to kill the clock with seven seconds remaining. "My first thought was, I didn't know if I was going to get to it," Strong said. USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said, "Everyone fought, and '21' (Strong) went up there and got the ball and got the job done." Arizona State coach Todd Graham said, "At the end of the day, you have to have great players make great plays." - The Sports Xchange
10/08/14 - Mike Bercovici collapsed on the Coliseum turf after he released his final throw for Arizona State, cramping up from dehydration. Jaelen Strong wasn't sure he could get to it, but he sprinted and leaped - and wasn't quite sure how he ended up with the ball in the end zone, his teammates mobbing him. When Bercovici and Strong finally got up, the Sun Devils celebrated an improbable comeback capped by an unbelievable finish. "You never know what this game can come down to," Strong said. Strong caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from Bercovici as time expired, and Arizona State scored three TDs in the final 3:53 to shock No. 16 Southern California 38-34 on Saturday night.
Bercovici capped his 510-yard, five-touchdown passing performance with his third scoring pass to Strong, who slipped in front of USC's Hayes Pullard at the goal line and pulled in the Hail Mary, walking into the end zone stunningly untouched. "I'll be honest, it was a little bit of a prayer," said Bercovici, the San Fernando Valley product making his second start in front of dozens of friends and family. "I just immediately fell to the floor. I saw Jaelen take a step in the end zone, and I don't think I could have made it down 50 yards to the end zone. It was an indescribable feeling. I've got people telling me, 'Get up, get up, get up!' But all I wanted to do was run upstairs to my mom and give her a big hug." - AP Sports