Maybe, just maybe, Todd Graham’s Arizona State Sun Devils have turned the corner.
After being outplayed in disappointing losses to Texas A&M and USC, the Devils (4-2, 2-1) circled the wagons with a dramatic upset win over UCLA in Pasadena and last weekend’s 48-23 win over Colorado in Tempe.
The key to the turnaround wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, simply #SunDevilBrotherhood.
“I think we really just collectively came together as a team,” senior quarterback Mike Bercovici told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat via Skype earlier this week. “Obviously we got hit in the mouth against [USC] but it’s really how you respond…we’re finally playing our ball.”
Maybe the most encouraging aspect of ASU’s improvement has been on special teams. Placekicker Zane Gonzalez has been booming his kickoffs and the Devils’ even blocked a punt setting the offense up deep in Colorado territory.
Graham’s lofty pre-season expectations, where talk of playoffs and championships were passed around like turkey on Thanksgiving Day, have been tempered as ASU’s leaders have re-focused on refining the small things with the season already halfway over and a big test awaiting against the 4th-ranked Utah Utes (5-0, 2-0) under the lights at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday night.
“This is one shot,” Bercovici explained. “We only have one opportunity to have this senior year and I think guys are beginning to understand that…games aren’t just won on Saturday, they’re won during the week.”
Count this as one big week for Bercovici and the Sun Devils.