Arizona State Win Against Colorado Overshadowed By Injury To QB Taylor Kelly
The Arizona State Sun Devils opened Pac-12 conference play with a 38-24 road win over the Colorado Buffaloes, but it came at a major cost. Quarterback Taylor Kelly left the game in the third quarter after being tackled by Colorado defensive end Derek McCartney. He walked off the field into the locker room and returned to the sidelines on crutches along with boot on his right foot.
The three-year starter for Arizona State has played in every game since 2012 and so far this season has taken care of the ball by not throwing an interception in three games.
Kelly is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football with 63 touchdowns in 30 career starts. Uncertainty now looms over how much time he will miss under center, which could be devastating to the Sun Devils and their upcoming schedule against the No. 12 UCLA Bruins, No. 17 USC Trojans and No. 16 Stanford Cardinal.
Head coach Todd Graham should be concerned due to the level of play from backup quarterback Mike Bercovici, who struggled in succession against Colorado, going 2-of-4 for eight yards passing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though considering Bercovici has never started at the college level.
Graham will have a tough task at hand replacing what Kelly has done on the field. It will be especially difficult for Bercovici to develop the type of chemistry Kelly has between wide receiver Jaelen Strong and running back DJ Foster. Both star playmakers are huge contributors to the Arizona State offensive scheme and will be relied on more heavily in Kelly’s absence.
No matter the outcome of the situation, Arizona State is benefited by having the extra week of preparation and should give Graham the time needed to go back to the drawing board. If the injury to Kelly is severe, the Sun Devils will be forced to show how resilient they really are and could decide their fate in the Pac-12 conference race.
Arizona State improved to 3-0 on the season with the win and welcomes UCLA into Tempe for a rare Thursday night game on Sept. 25.
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