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Mike Bercovici and Arizona State move past struggling Stanford

Associated Press
Stanford's Ty Montgomery and Arizona State's Jaelen Strong both did some positive things in Saturday's game.

It doesn't come close to making up for a lost trip to the Rose Bowl, but Arizona State got its revenge on Stanford late Saturday night.

The Sun Devils moved the ball surprisingly well against the stingy Cardinal defense and handed their budding rivals from the North Division their worst loss in nearly three years by a final of 26-10.

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While there had been some speculation coming into the week that quarterback Taylor Kelly would be returning to the starting lineup, Mike Bercovici once again proved more than capable running the ASU offense. Against a defense that statistically ranked in the top five in just about every major category, the redshirt junior completed 70 percent of his passes for 245 yards and a touchdown while generally playing mistake-free football.

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Bercovici naturally relied on his terrific skill-position talent to make the offense tick effectively. Receiver Jaelen Strong had another good outing to help boost his draft stock with 75 yards on eight catches, plus a score shortly before halftime. Running back D.J. Foster had been less of a factor in recent weeks for the Sun Devils but led the team in rushing and receiving on 31 touches.

As for Stanford, it was yet another frustrating loss in which the offense sputtered for most of the night. Signal-caller Kevin Hogan was ineffective and just barely had over 200 yards of offense while hovering around 50 percent passing for the game.

Receiver Ty Montgomery, one of the top Stanford draft prospects, did what he could despite some inaccurate throws from Hogan, catching six for 82 yards and showing off some burst in the kick-return game.

Overall the game served as a reminder that this isn't the season the Cardinal signed up for coming off back-to-back Pac-12 titles. Despite giving up over 20 for the first time all year, the loss was Stanford's third of the year. That's the first time they've lost that many in four seasons, and Saturday night's loss was the worst on the scoreboard in three.

While they are technically still alive in the North Division, it will likely be back to the drawing board on offense with games against Oregon, Utah and UCLA (among others) remaining.

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Arizona State, meanwhile, continues to control its destiny in the rugged South Division. The Sun Devils could find themselves approaching the top 10 in the polls heading into next week's game at Washington.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.



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