Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici (2) scores a touchdown as New Mexico cornerback Nias Martin (19) defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York
September 19, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona State finally found its rhythm on offense. Now the competition gets a whole lot tougher.

Mike Bercovici threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and the Sun Devils overcame a sluggish start to beat New Mexico 34-10 on Friday night.

Bercovici had touchdown passes of 14, 33 and 93 yards and ran eight yards for the other Sun Devils TD.

The 93-yard play to Demario Richard matched the third-longest pass in Arizona State history. Richard rushed for 104 yards and his 151 yards receiving - on four catches - is a school record for a running back.

''That's a pretty good night,'' Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said.

The three TD passes came in a stretch when Bercovici completed 17 of 19 for 271 yards. Overall, he was 22 of 37 for 317 yards and was not intercepted.

''We dominated a team that we should dominate,'' Graham said. ''We got some things going in the second and third quarter.''

It was Arizona State's final nonconference game before opening Pac-12 play next Saturday at home against No. 6 USC. Four of the next five games are against nationally ranked conference foes.

Graham pronounced his team ready.

''I feel good about where we're at,'' he said.

Redshirt freshman Tyrone Owens scored New Mexico's lone touchdown on a 65-yard run.

''The quarterback (Bercovici) got going a little bit,'' Lobos coach Bob Davie said. ''We had a hard time covering their big receivers. They made some back shoulder throws on us. For the most part, though, we hung in there, competed and played pretty good. `'

Arizona State (2-1) beat New Mexico (1-2) for the 19th time in a row.

New Mexico's last win in the series was in 1947. The Lobos won in Tempe once, in 1934. A year ago, the Sun Devils won in Albuquerque 58-23, the teams' first meeting since 1976.

It was Arizona State's final nonconference game before opening Pac-12 play next Saturday at home against No. 6 USC. Four of the next five games are against nationally ranked conference foes.

Graham pronounced his team ready.

''I feel good about where we're at,'' he said.

The Lobos' only other score came when Jason Sanders kicked a 32-yard field for New Mexico after Arizona State's Tim White tried to field a punt on one bounce but fumbled.

The Sun Devils needed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat FCS foe Cal Poly last week and, a four-touchdown favorite against New Mexico, they were up just 3-0 late in the first half, with some boos raining down from the crowd.

Cal Poly and New Mexico both run the triple option, though out of different formations, and other than the one long run, the Sun Devils pretty much held the Lobos in check.

Still, Graham said, ''We're really tired of the triple option, really tired.''

New Mexico used up 8:35 of the second quarter but the drive stalled and Sanders missed a 35-yard field goal that would have tied. Suddenly, Arizona State got its up-tempo offensive machine in gear.

Bercovici, 5 for 13 for 36 yards up until then, was 7 for 7 for 80 yards on the 1:59 drive, three of the completions to Devin Lucien. To cap the drive, the Arizona State quarterback threw short to Tim White, who scampered in on a 14-yard play to make it 10-0 with 36 seconds to go in the half.

The Sun Devils took the second-half kickoff and went 66 yards in five plays, Bercovici throwing 33 yards to Richard for the score to make it 17-0.

Owens' big run up the middle cut it to 17-7 with 11:15 left. But Bercovici ran eight yards to put Arizona State up 24-7 with 1:44 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth, Bercovici found Richard wide open on the sideline and the speedy back, with a couple of blockers helping him, raced downfield for the score, the longest Arizona State pass play in 30 years.

Already depleted by injuries, Arizona State lost Lucien with a leg injury after his last catch of the first touchdown drive.

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AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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