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Defense gets the better of the offense in ASU spring game

TEMPE, Ariz. — The goal was simple and singular.

“[Saturday’s] goal was to come out healthy and we did. That was the No. 1 thing,” head coach Todd Graham said after ASU’s spring game, played in front of 6,386 fans at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Graham said they ran 120 plays in a game that featured mostly the first team offense going against the first team defense.

“I thought the defense dominated most of the scrimmage,” Graham said. “We turned the football over too much. I wanted to see 100% ball security and I wanted to see the defense getting takeaways so either way, it ain’t ever going to work out right.

“I thought they got after it. I think our guys competed well.”

Officially, the Maroon team (quarterbacked by Mike Bercovici and Michael Eubank) defeated the Gold team (quarterbacked by Taylor Kelly), 24-22.

“I thought we performed well,” said Kelly, who was 15-of-21 for 126 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he was intercepted once and sacked twice.

“The very first drive we drove down the field and put a score down (Marion Grice’s one-yard run),” Kelly continued. “We did a great job with our tempo, moving the football. We made some great plays running the football, which we need to establish. We made some big plays at our receiving end as well.”

Graham singled out the play of Bercovici (8-of-13 for 114 yards and a touchdown) and Eubank (8-of-12 for 88 yards and two touchdowns), both of whom have performed well throughout the spring.

Bercovici capped the scoring for the day with a 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Coyle, who finished with a game-high seven catches for 82 yards and three touchdowns.

Blake Covey and Richard Smith also had receiving touchdowns.

Defensively, Davon Coleman and Will Sutton had two sacks apiece.

“Will Sutton is working harder than I’ve ever seen him work,” Graham said. “He’s better now than he was in the fall. That’s exciting.

“Everybody on our program that is a returning starter, I feel like has gotten better.”

Graham said he’s encouraged by what he’s seen thus far from his players.

“We’ve had a great spring. I told our players we’ve had a good enough spring to compete for a championship in the fall. It’s what we do between now and then that’s what’s important,” Graham said.