(Photo: Lindsey Nelson/WCSN)
Mike Bercovici racked up 998 yards passing and eight touchdown passes in his two starts against UCLA and USC, but it was a 46-yard lob hauled in by Jaelen Strong that will forever cement the quarterback in Sun Devil lore.
Needless to say, Bercovici was impressive in relief of Taylor Kelly, who injured his foot against the Colorado Buffaloes in the third game of the season. But all indications are that Kelly will be healthy for the team’s next game against Stanford, and that means Bercovici will return to his role as the team’s backup.
Did Bercovici do well for the Sun Devils? Unquestionably. Did he inspire hope for ASU’s 2015 season, sans Kelly? One hundred percent. Did he play so well that the Sun Devils should consider keeping Kelly on the sideline even after his injured foot is healthy? No way.
The numbers can make a convincing case otherwise, as Bercovici performed very well against top competition. Really, if the case was just about numbers, it would be difficult to argue any quarterback in the nation should start ahead of Bercovici.
Who else in the nation could compete with a player who averages 499 passing yards and four touchdowns per start? And what argument can you make against the first quarterback to ever toss five touchdown passes against USC?
It’s really pretty simple: Kelly is just a better quarterback.
You can see it in practice, you can see it on the field and you can’t deny that Kelly is the unquestioned leader of this Sun Devils squad.
There aren’t numbers that quantify the presence that Kelly brings, but it’s not as though the senior lacks stats to back up his claim as the starter.
Kelly is fourth in ASU history in passing touchdowns with 63 and fifth in passing yards with 7,330. He is in his third season leading a prolific Sun Devils offense and owns the school record for completion percentage.
Kelly’s an efficient leader who makes few mistakes and offers much more than Bercovici as a runner. His mere presence in the backfield alone should open running lanes for D.J. Foster, who has managed just 43 rushing yards on 19 carries in the last two games.
Bercovici played admirably in Kelly’s place, but it’s unquestionably Kelly’s place. It will be Kelly’s place for the remainder of the 2014 season and then it will be Bercovici’s in 2015.
Quarterback controversies are fun to talk about, but there isn’t one in Tempe. This is Kelly’s team and the Sun Devils are better with him back at the helm.