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Taylor Kelly's Injury Changes Outlook for Arizona State and Pac-12 South

Taylor Kelly

Taylor Kelly

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly left the Week 3 victory over Colorado due to a foot injury, and the senior is not expected to play in the Sun Devils’ upcoming showdown against UCLA on Sept. 25.

With Kelly sidelined, Mike Bercovici is slated to take the first snap against the Bruins.

Bercovici played in Kelly’s absence during the second half against Colorado and completed 2 of 4 passes for eight yards.

While Kelly will be missed, Bercovici does have experience, throwing 24 passes over the last three seasons.

Bercovici is not as strong of a runner as Kelly, but the Sun Devils can lean more on D.J. Foster and freshmen Kalen Ballage and Damario Richard to carry the offense on the ground.

It’s uncertain when Kelly will be able to return to the lineup, but his absence comes at a critical time for Arizona State. Arizona Sports reported Kelly suffered a broken foot and will be out at least a month.

The Sun Devils play UCLA on Sept. 25, then travel to USC the following Thursday. If that wasn’t difficult enough, games against Washington and Stanford round out the month of October. Considering Arizona State's difficult schedule, Kelly's injury and how well Bercovici plays will determine whether or not the Sun Devils are still a threat to repeat as Pac-12 South champs.

UCLA's offensive line has struggled, and quarterback Brett Hundley was injured in Saturday's win over Texas. USC lost at Boston College and was outplayed in a win at Stanford.

Who should be the favorite in this division? As always, it's a matter of survival. UCLA continues to win close games, and USC still has depth concerns.

It's tough to count out Arizona State with explosive playmakers like Foster and receiver Jaelen Strong, but the defense featured several new faces stepping into the starting lineup.

Can Bercovici and a rebuilt defense hold the Sun Devils' title hopes together for the next few weeks? Or will Kelly's injury doom Arizona State's title hopes? For now, it's easy to assume the latter, but the rest of the struggles in the Pac-12 South suggest this race is far from over - even with Kelly sidelined. 

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