Report Card: Grading ASU football's 48-46 loss to Cal

ASU football struggled down the stretch in Berkeley

Valedictorian: Redshirt senior wide receiver Devin Lucien

For the second week in a row, the offense ran through Lucien and the vertical passing game. Last week, it was a then-career high 190 yards on nine catches with a touchdown. On Saturday against the Cal Golden Bears, Lucien put up a career-high 200 yards on three touchdowns. 

The three touchdowns were the most by an ASU receiver since Jaelen Strong had three of his own against USC last season. All three scores came in the first half to build up a 24-3 lead, which ASU squandered in the 48-46 loss.

The offense gained 586 yards of total offense and dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 38 minutes, and didn't turn the ball over once. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici had a fine day, going 27-for-43 for 395 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Demario Richard ran for more than 100 yards yet again to exceed 1,000 total rushing yards on the season. 

So what was the issue?

Well, the Sun Devils went a perfect 9-for-9 in the red zone, but scored touchdowns on just three (33 percent) of the team's trips. This proved to be particularly costly in the second half, as ASU could not put away Jared Goff and the Cal offense.

The tackling and coverage was poor, as was the play-calling. ASU has struggled with all three concepts at some point this season, but they were never exposed more openly than when up against one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12 conference. 

Cal quarterback Jared Goff helped lead the Golden Bears to 680 yards of total offense in just 22 minutes of play (and 9.3 yards per play). In the second half, the Sun Devils allowed 38 points after holding Cal to just 10 in the first half. 

Goff finished with 542 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions as ASU failed to register a sack in the game. 

The special teams unit was solid against Cal, with nothing spectacular outside of junior kicker Zane Gonzalez's career-high and school record of six field goals (he was a perfect 6-for-6 on the night.)

The other highlight from the unit came off of a Marcus Ball recovery of a muffed punt in the first half.


Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow @fardaya15 on Twitter.

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