3 takeaways from ASU's big win over UCLA

Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-04 00:56:19-04

Three big takeaways from the Arizona State Sun Devils' 38-23 win at No. 7 UCLA on Saturday night:

1. Berco's back.

One important reason why expectations were so high for ASU entering the season was quarterback Mike Bercovici's productivity last year -- but through four games, his passer rating was just 10th among all Pac-12 QBs.

On Saturday, the senior looked more like the man Sun Devil fans were expecting, completing 27 of 44 passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and adding a 34-yard touchdown run. If this version of Berco keeps taking the field, there's no reason ASU can't turn Saturday's victory into a long winning streak.

2. Defense dominates.

Despite being incorrectly labeled as "Desert Swarm" during Saturday's broadcast (nice one, FOX), the Sun Devils' defense had its coming out party Saturday.

The unit wasn't as bad as it might have seemed through ASU's first four games, as turnovers and mistakes by the offense frequently put the defense's backs against the wall. Against the Bruins, the unit looked as strong as advertised during the preseason, save for a couple slip-ups in the fourth quarter. Look for the defense to only improve as the season progresses. 

3. Demario keeps doing his thing.

One of the few bright spots on offense for ASU during September was running back Demario Richard, who rushed for over six yards a carry and notched 185 receiving yards during the Devils' first four games.

Richard's numbers Saturday don't jump off the screen -- 134 total yards on 31 touches -- but the sophomore was productive enough to keep UCLA's defense honest, set up play-action passes and allow Bercovici to go to work.