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Mike Bercovici's Hail Mary Gives New Life to Arizona State in Pac-12 South

Arizona State Sun Devils

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils were literally on their last gasp when a backup quarterback changed the entire complexion of the season for Todd Graham with two throws.

Trailing for most of the game, Arizona State's back-up quarterback Mike Bercovici flipped the Pac-12 South on its head with two long touchdown passes, the last of which came on the final play of the game from 46 yards out.

USC scored with just over three minutes to go, giving the Trojans a nine-point lead with 3:02 left in the game. Berocvici then led a one-play drive by connecting with Cameron Smith from 73 yards out to answer immediately. 

Following a USC three and out, the Sun Devils got the ball back with 23 seconds left and their season hanging in the balance. A loss to USC would have all but knocked Arizona State out of the Pac-12 South race after getting thumped by UCLA last weekend. 

Bercovici moved his team to the USC 46 yard line in three plays, facing an obvious Hail Mary situation.

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For the second time in a few weeks, a school from Arizona was just under 50 yards away from victory trailing a school from California with one play remaining in the game. And exactly like Arizona's 47-yard Hail Mary against Cal, Arizona State's prayer was answered when all-everything wideout Jaelen Strong snatched Bercovici's heave out of mid-air for the game-winning touchdown.

The affable and well-spoken Sun Devils back-up signal caller finished with 510 yards and five touchdowns in just his second start after throwing for 488 a week ago against the Bruins.

Yes, it was a miracle completion. Yes, it was a historic comeback. Yes, it was an amazing way to cap what turned out to be a wild day in college football. Yes, Arizona State — which threw for 510 yards and ran for 31 — needs to find more balance on offense. But most importantly, it salvaged the Sun Devils season and gave Graham's bunch hope in the Pac-12 race.

Arizona State is now 2-1 in the Pac-12 while USC falls to 1-1, essentially a game behind ASU due to the all important tie-breaker. With UCLA also losing in Week 6, the improbable comeback creates a logjam in the South Division. Only Arizona, who has yet to play a division game, is left unbeaten in the conference (2-0) and only Colorado has more than one league loss (0-3).

After last weekend, it appeared to be a two-horse race in the South. Seven days later, everyone but Colorado is still very much in the hunt. And the season is just starting to heat up.

Hear my interview with Sun Devils star Mike Bercovici: