The Sun Devils pulled off a last second Hail Mary to stun the USC Trojans at the Coliseum, 38-34.
Mike Bercovici hauled off a last gasp throw as time expired and Jaelen Strong grabbed the game-winning catch as the Trojans blew a nine-point lead in the final minutes to fall to 3-2 on the season. USC gave up touchdowns of 73 and 46 yards in two minutes and 43 seconds to end the game.
It was the first loss for the Trojans in the Pac-12 and the win which restored ASU in the race for the Pac-12 title.
Bercovici put up big numbers in his second start and first win as Taylor Kelly’s replacement. He finished with 510 yards and five touchdowns.
Cody Kessler threw for 273 yards and ran for a touchdown in the loss while Buck Allen added 143 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
Allen led the way for USC to start the fourth quarter. After swerving his way across the field for a 37-yard gain, he caught another key pass over the middle on third down to put USC inside the 10. Kessler finished off the drive with a weaving run of his own as he took off up the middle to avoid pressure. Breaking through wouldbe tacklers and stretching for the endzone, the Trojan quarterback got a valuable seven points up on the board.
ASU looked to respond on their next drive but the Trojan defense stood them up at midfield and forced a punt.
With the score on their side and the Sun Devils out of time outs, USC rode the running backs Justin Davis and Allen who both got into a groove for the first time all night. The Trojans ran minutes off the clock but stalled in ASU territory and were forced to punt.
Though the Sun Devils started pinned deep, they found a way to convert on third and fourth down as they worked their way down the field. D.J. Foster put his team back in the game catching a touchdown pass to cut the deficit back to two.
Needing just one first down to all but put the game away, USC was stuffed on first down. Allen proved himself the hero on the next play, bursting through the defense for what appeared to be the 53-yard game-killing gain.
It wasn’t over yet though. ASU conjured a 73-yard touchdown catch from Foster to start the next drive to pull the game back within reach.
USC and Allen couldn’t find any magic of their own to completely wind the clock down and gave it back to the Sun Devils with half a minute remaining.
That’s when ASU struck the death blow. Bercovici found a receiver over the middle to set up the final effort and Trojan defenders stood by as Strong snatch the ball out of the air for the victory.
The third quarter was a stalemate, with the teams trading field goals to keep the score at a two-point margin.
The first half was a tale of two quarters. In the first, defense won out. USC’s Su’a Cravens made a nuisance of himself in the ASU backfield and the Trojans became the first team in 2014 to blank the Sun Devils in the opening quarter.
Nelson Agholor supplied the big play of the period returning a punt for a touchdown.
The second quarter was a different story. ASU seemed to figure out the Trojan secondary and Bercovici hit Strong for two touchdowns through the air.
The Trojans responded with a short touchdown run from Allen and a field goal from Andre Heidari.
USC faces Arizona in Tuscon next week in a must-win game if they hope to remain in the hunt for the division title. The Wildcats upset the Oregon Ducks Thursday to improve their record to 5-0.
Stay tuned to Reign Of Troy for a full slate of post-game content.