Arizona State could have felt uneasy after it eeked out a 35-21 win against FBS school Cal Poly.
Head coach Todd Graham was the first to admit his team didn’t play well, especially in the first half, but he also doesn’t believe the Sun Devils should lose confidence or be ashamed of their performance.
During his locker room speech after the play, Graham told his players that he was most proud of how they reacted to the more competitive opponent than most expected.
“I like how we responded in the second half,” he said. “In the heat of the battle, it’s how you respond to that adversity. No matter how hard things get, you can’t ever let them see you flinch.”
Quarterback Mike Bercovici threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull ASU away from a 21-all tie that had the crowd at Sun Devil Stadium stunned. Bercovici hit tight end Kody Kohl with a 10-yard pass, then found backup receiver Tim White for a 4-yard score.
Graham told his team the lesson was learning to respect the difficulty in winning any game, be it a 70-0 blowout or otherwise. It’s all the same, he told the Sun Devils.
“I’ll tell you this, our confidence should not waver one bit,” Graham added. “We didn’t come out defensively ready to play. I’m proud of how you responded.”