Another week in Pac-12 play brought another Hail Mary victory. The Arizona State Sun Devils had their prayers answered Saturday.
Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici rose to the occasion during his second career start to steal a last-second victory from USC. The scoreboard read 38-34 after junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong stunned the Trojans.
Bercovici was the catalyst, though. Arizona State trailed 34-25 with 3:02 remaining when the Sun Devils’ inexperienced quarterback decided to take over the game.
Once the Sun Devils had possession of the ball after a kickoff, it took Bercovici one play to close the gap. The junior from Calabasas, Calif. connected with wide receiver Cameron Smith for a 73-yard touchdown.
Arizona State got the ball back for the last time with 23 seconds left. After two attempted passes, Bercovici dropped back and lobbed a moonshot toward the end zone. With five different USC defenders located around the goal line, Strong undercut them all and ensnared the 46-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Bercovici finished the contest with an eye-popping 510 passing yards and five touchdowns. Strong contributed a whopping 202 receiving yards. These efforts came against the nation’s 10th-ranked passing defense. Arizona State actually doubled the average USC passing yards surrendered per game entering Saturday’s contest.
Arizona State’s starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is recovering from an unspecified foot injury, was expected to return to the lineup next Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal. Arizona State head coach Todd Graham may decide Kelly needs more time to heal after Bercovici’s stunning performance.
Arizona State’s duo weren’t the only players to put up big numbers. USC running back Javorius “Buck” Allen finished the contest with 229 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. USC is relying more and more on the running back as the weeks progress. Allen carried the ball 29 times, which is a season high.
As for the rest of USC, a picture is worth a thousand words:
It is going to take some more time to dive deep into the pros and cons of limiting the size of a football staff before the NCAA Division 1 Council decides what to do. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Division 1 Council has decided to table a legislative proposal focusing on setting parameters on the size of a football staff, meaning this topic should pop up again a year from now.
The proposal aims to cap the size of any football staff at 30 people and determine who may be eligible to participate in on-campus recruiting efforts. Those assigned recruiting duties, including head and assistant coaches, would then be required to pass an annual test on recruiting practices. At this time, however, there appears to be too much confusion and uncertainty about how the proposal would impact programs now. With so many questions about the proposal, it was best to put this one on the table and spend the next year examining how it could impact college football programs.
“I went to the American Football Coaches Association meeting, and there were a lot of questions about how this was going to work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the oversight committee, said in a release shared by the NCAA. “The coaches wanted to know who was going to be included, how they would be certified and who was exempted.”
This topic has already been floating out there since last spring, and with recent adjustments from the NCAA to allow for a 10th full-time assistant coach, it appears this will be the next step in the evolution of ruling how large a football staff can be.
The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.
Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.
Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.
Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.
Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.
Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.
Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.
You’re not truly a fan of a team that has won a national championship until you can brandish the honor on the license plate to your car. In Florida, that may become a reality soon enough for UCF fans as the ongoing claim to a national championship continues to sweep through the state.
A new bill in the state of Florida introduced to the state legislature would allow for the creation and printing of Florida license plates in UCF colors and a UCF logo with the words “National Champions” inscribed across the bottom.
There is a lot of legal wording in the house bill, as one should expect, but the bill essentially boils down to be able to purchase a UCF national championship license plate. You can find those details on page seven of the 23-page bill.
UCF has already staked a claim at being the national champion for the 2017 college football season after completing the nation’s only undefeated season and beating an Auburn team that defeated both College Football Playoff national championship game participants, Georgia and Alabama. The Knights have since been honored with a championship parade in Disney World.