The EDGE: ASU football wraps up the regular season against California

The Sun Devils have won two in a row to clinch bowl eligibility

Quarterback

Edge: California

This much is very clear: there are few better pro quarterback prospects than Cal junior Jared Goff. The Novato, California native has thrown for 3,710 yards and 32 touchdowns this season with 13 interceptions, and kept the Golden Bears in AP Top 25 for four consecutive weeks (as high as No. 20) and in contention for the Pac-12 North division title before the team's recent 1-5 slide. 

ASU redshirt senior Mike Bercovici was solid last Saturday, throwing for 300 yards and leading the Sun Devils to a Territorial Cup win over Arizona, he has totaled 3,041 yards and 22 touchdowns this season to date. But if the two are both at their best, Goff will almost certainly outperform Bercovici. 

Running back

Edge: ASU

The dynamic one-two punch of ASU sophomores Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage was once again effective, as each rushed for more than 100 yards against Arizona

 As the team's featured back, Richard is set to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards (he has 925 entering Saturday) with seven touchdowns so far. Ballage has come on strong after missing the team's first three games with mononucleosis, and has rushed for 596 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.

Wide receiver 

Edge: California

ASU coach Todd Graham called Cal's wide receiver unit the second-best in the Pac-12 behind USC, and the numbers are there to support his praise. Six receivers currently have more than 400 receiving yards on the season, all with multiple touchdown grabs. 

The top Golden Bear target is junior Kenny Lawler, who has caught a team-high 46 passes for 562 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns. The key deep threat for the Golden Bears is senior Bryce Treggs, who has hauled in 36 balls for a team-high 666 yards and five touchdowns.

Offensive line

Edge: California

Cal's ability to keep Goff upright may be their key to victory, and it's something they've been able to do fairly well this season. Cal's quarterbacks have only been sacked 23 times this season, leading by a wide margin over ASU's 44.

Defensive line

Edge: ASU

An eye-popping stat from Saturday's win for ASU: Arizona's top two running backs combined for just nine yards on nine carries. This was a product of poor quarterback play much as it was the consistent pressure of the ASU defensive line – sophomore Tashon Smallwood, redshirt senior Demetrius Cherry, freshman JoJo Wicker and junior Ami Latu, have performed at a high level this season. 

Linebackers

Edge: ASU

Led by two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week redshirt senior Antonio Longino, this group is among the deepest in the conference at any position. With six sacks in the last two weeks, Longino is the Pac-12 clubhouse leader with 19 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Christian Sam, Laiu Moeakiola and Salamo Fiso have evolved from complementary pieces in each of the four spots in the hybrid scheme to top-level pro prospects.

Secondary

Edge: California

Each team's secondary has struggled this season, but the Golden Bears have been proficient in forcing turnovers in 2015. They have intercepted 14 passes this season and recovered 10 lost fumbles.

ASU's secondary is injury-marred and surrounded by plenty of questions, but freshman Kareem Orr (the conference leader with five interceptions) has been a bright spot. 

Special teams

Edge: ASU

The Sun Devils have often relied on Junior punter Matt Haack to set their defense up in good spots, and Haack has responded with his best season to date. Kicker Zane Gonzalez has had his struggles this season, but appears to have turned things around. Redshirt junior Tim White is looking for break free for a big return against a Cal coverage team that allowed a kickoff return touchdown earlier this season.

Overall

Edge: Push


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

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