Sun Devils resurrect season ahead of Colorado matchup

After a victory over UCLA last weekend, the Sun Devils are back on track

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Sun Devils resurrect season ahead of Colorado matchup

ASU will play host to Colorado at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 10.

ASU will play host to Colorado at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 10.

Courtesy of Ken Lund

ASU will play host to Colorado at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 10.

Courtesy of Ken Lund

Courtesy of Ken Lund

ASU will play host to Colorado at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 10.

Chris Hunter, Reporter

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It is no secret that the Arizona State University Sun Devils have had a rocky start to the 2015 season.

After an early-season loss to Texas A&M, a sloppy win against Cal Poly and a 42-14 loss to the University of Southern California Trojans, many fans and experts were ready to throw in the towel for the Sun Devils.

Then came a surprising 38-23 victory of the seventh-ranked UCLA Bruins and suddenly the team looks good, sitting just a half-game behind division-leading Utah at 3-2 (1-1 in PAC-12 conference play).

That victory meant that the Sun Devils have been able to follow up an early loss with a hugely impressive win, following similar efforts in 2013 and 2014 showing the grit that the team has developed behind head coach Todd Graham.

The biggest struggle for the Sun Devils this season has been defending the run, an aspect that the Bruins tried to exploit. The Sun Devils proved this perceived weakness to be unfounded in the way they handled star junior Paul Perkins, who has drawn accolades as one of the best rushers in the nation. Perkins was only able to rush for 63 yards, with nearly half coming on a single 29-yard run.

The stout display against the Bruins’ 32nd-ranked rush offense, whom they held to 62 total rushing yards, lent credence to the argument that the triple-option offense run by two of their first three opponents was responsible for the Sun Devils’ rush defense being ranked 10th in the PAC-12 and giving up 180.5 yards per game on the ground.

The Sun Devil offense took a bit longer to take off, as the team’s first four drives resulted in three punts and a missed field goal before the defense got them on the board with a safety.

That safety provided the spark and the Sun Devils went to score a touchdown on the next drive, putting themselves up 9-0. That drive began and ended with receiver Tim White. After initially fumbling the kick return, White picked the ball back up and ran it 63 yards to the Bruins’ 31 yard-line. A defensive pass interference call moved the ball 14 yards before quarterback Mike Bercovici connected with White on a 12-yard score, one of Bercovici’s two touchdown passes on the day.

Going into the half, the Sun Devils held a 15-10 advantage. Whatever was said at the half appeared to help as the Sun Devils went on to outscore the Bruins 23-13 in the second half.

The final offensive play of the game showed that the Sun Devils may just be getting started. After getting hit at the 20 yard-line running back Kalen Ballage, with help from teammates, carried multiple Bruins defenders 20 yards into the end zone for a TD that proved to be a game-clincher with :45 left on the clock.

The Sun Devils looks to carry momentum into their Saturday matchup with Colorado in Tempe. Since 2006, the Sun Devils have outscored the Buffaloes 245-85 and won all six games against them. The Sun Devils will need to be wary of the Buffaloes run game, which is ranked 17th in the nation.

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