Arizona State QB Mike Bercovici Introduces BERCOing to College Football’s Lexicon

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berco-hail-mary

The short-lived fad of “Tebowing” has a new counterpart, courtesy of Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici. And, as the Sun Devil tweeted Monday, the trend already has a high-profile endorser in Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

OK, so that’s a loose interpretation of an endorsement or homage. If anything, BERCOing is a throwback to Dikembe Mutombo’s celebration after the Denver Nuggets became the first No. 8 to upset a No. 1 seed in the 1994 NBA Playoffs.

Mutombo-Nuggets

Never mind Mike Bercovici was 15 months when the Nuggets upset the Seattle Supersonics, a franchise that ceased to exist when the ASU quarterback was a high school sophomore.

Oh God, I’m so old…

Sigh; where was I? Ah, yes! You have to appreciate Bercovici having some fun and spreading his own meme through the Cowboys’ NFL Playoffs win over the Detroit Lions.

For those unfamiliar, #BERCOing originated when Mike Bercovici completed a 46-yard Hail Mary to Jaelen Strong to upend USC, 38-34, on Oct. 4. That score was the culmination of a 20-point fourth quarter by Arizona State, with all three of the Sun Devils’ scores coming on Bercovici passes.

He’ll get plenty more opportunities to do some more #BERCOing in 2015, when the reins of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s high-tempo system are turned over to him full-time.

Bercovici started midway through Arizona State’s 2014 campaign for three games, in place of injured three-year starter Taylor Kelly. He also finished the rivalry contest at Arizona.

In that time, Bercovici threw an impressive 12 touchdown passes, most of his 1,445 yards for the season and that one Hail Mary, which garnered him the national spotlight for a while.

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I was covering the USC game live, which is where I snapped the two horribly blurry, embedded photos. At the top is Bercovici cranking back to fire that famous pass. Here’s the complete play:

“Indescribable,” Bercovici said on the field after completing the Jael Mary, as it’s now called. “Let me tell you, for the first time in my career in the Coliseum as a starter? Most amazing experience of my life.”

It’s an experience Mike Bercovici would not have had if he’d opted to leave Arizona State — which, after three years backing up Kelly, he understandable could have.

This time of year is rife with quarterbacks transferring. The topic is especially at the forefront this week, in the buildup to the College Football Playoff championship.

Ohio State is facing off with Oregon next week with its own former third-stringer, Cardale Jones, behind center.

Jones’ ascent to the starting role came after J.T. Barrett suffered a season-ending injury in the regular-season finale — and Barrett took over the job only after Braxton Miller’s shoulder injury scratched him for the year.

Miller is rumored destined for transfer this offseason, while the unavoidable loser of a Jones-Barrett quarterback competition is likely to follow.

But Bercovici’s successes in 2014 prove a quarterback can go from third on the depth chart, as he was behind Kelly and Michael Eubank for a time, to playing a pivotal role without changing programs.

And with an clear path to the starting job in 2015, Bercovici can accomplish much more with a talented Sun Devils roster next season.

If the trend of lying face down to celebrate an accomplishment fails to catch on, perhaps excelling after biding one’s time can be the new #BERCOing.