We’re still more than 10 days shy of the Pac-12 South Division showdown featuring No. 12 UCLA and No. 15 Arizona State, but the outlook already looks dismal for Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly.
Kelly left Arizona State’s 38-24 win over Colorado on Saturday during during the third quarter after injuring his right foot while moving outside the pocket. He returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter using crutches and in the company of Anikar Chhabra, the team’s orthopedic surgeon, according to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.
Head coach Todd Graham has stated he will not discuss the health of Kelly or linebacker Viliami “Laiu” Moeakiola, who left the game with right arm injury, just that the pair “will be absolutely fine.”
That may be true, eventually, but initial word does not look good regarding Kelly’s availability for the UCLA game. According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, Arizona State will be without its quarterback of 30 starts and 63 touchdown passes. Kelly had thrown for 195 yards and three touchdowns while adding 70 rushing yards and an additional touchdown before exiting the game.
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly (foot) is not expected to play against UCLA on Sept. 25 due to a foot injury, per source.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 15, 2014
Schad went on to say that “best case” involves Kelly returning for No. 17 USC on Oct. 4.
Arizona State is entering an absolutely crucial stretch where it faces UCLA, USC and No. 16 Stanford in consecutive games. For better or for worse, the Sun Devils’ season will be set on course following this stretch of upcoming games. The good news? Arizona State (somehow) only plays three games between now and Oct. 18, with two byes in the next four weeks.
There’s no denying, though, that the Sun Devils are a different bunch with Kelly on the sideline. Junior backup Mike Bercovici completed 2-of-4 passes for eight yards in limited action on Saturday night in relief of Kelly. A native of Calabasas, Calif., Bercovici has thrown 24 career passes, completing 14 for 112 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He has a career high of 65 passing yards.
No offense to Bercovici, but Arizona State needs Kelly in the lineup if it wants to defend its Pac-12 South championship.