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CFN Fight Hunger Analysis - ASU 62, Navy 28

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 29, 2012


CFN's thoughts and analysis on Arizona State's blowout win over Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

- Kraft Fight Hunger Arizona State 62, Navy 28

Arizona State put the game away early with a 21-0 first quarter and a 34-7 halftime lead. Taylor Kelly was almost perfect throwing four touchdown passes and running for another. Rashad Ross caught three touchdown passes and Marion Grice and Cameron Marshall each ran for two scores on the way to a 62-14 lead late in the third quarter. The Sun Devils didn’t rub it in – they eased up on the gas late in the third – Navy didn’t have any answers. The Midshipmen ran for 313 yards, but they didn’t have a prayer of keeping up with the Sun Devil offense that cranked out 648 yards and did whatever it wanted. Keenan Reynolds threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Matt Aiken in the second and Gee Gee Greene returned a kickoff for a score, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make it interesting.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils averaged 13.4 yards per pass attempt and outgained the Midshipmen 380 yards to 313 on the ground. … ASU didn’t punt. … QB Taylor Kelly completed 17-of-19 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns, and ran seven times for 81 yards and a touchdown. … WR Rashad Ross caught four passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns. … RB Marion Grice ran 14 times for 159 yards and two scores, and caught two passes for 19 yards. … DE Carl Bradford made eight tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss … DT Will Sutton made five tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.

Navy: RB Gee Gee Greene ran 12 times for 112 yards and returned six kickoffs for 187 yards and a touchdown. … QB Keenan Reynolds completed 5-of-11 passes for 14 yards and a touchdown with a pick. He also ran for 21 yards on 22 carries. … Navy had the ball for over 21 minutes in the first half.

By Richard Cirminiello

Navy became Exhibit A today in San Francisco that too many poor teams are allowed entry into the postseason. Always nice to see the Midshipmen get their shot to make a national statement, but this team didn’t belong on the same field as Arizona State. It was just way too easy for the Sun Devils.

The bowl win caps a very nice campaign for head coach Todd Graham. Few thought ASU would even be playing in December. Instead, it winds up winning eight games, and sending its seniors off with a postseason rout. That’s called a building block year for a new staff.

It was not his day, obviously, but Navy is going to win a lot of games over the next three years with true freshman Keenan Reynolds under center. You don’t elevate an academy full of upperclassmen at his age without being a rare and transformational young leader.

ASU DE Carl Bradford plays as if he’s channeling Clay Matthews. Part-linebacker and part-defensive end, he plays with the non-stop energy needed to make plays all over the field. The entire Sun Devils defense did a nice job of shifting gears to match the opponent, toning down the attacking, and playing with more discipline and patience.

The Sun Devils are quietly harboring a budding superstar in RB Marion Grice. The coveted junior-college transfer from a year ago does a lot of things well, including gliding through traffic and catching passes out of the backfield. With Cameron Marshall graduating, Grice might have an All-Pac-12 ceiling in 2013.

Give Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly time and he will pick a defense apart. Yeah, the overmatched Navy D was a factor, but the sophomore was about as sharp as a passer has been so far this postseason. Oh, and he can also hurt defenses with his feet.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

1) Arizona State has long been a sleeping giant. The weather is gorgeous, the party scene is celebrated, the proximity to California and Texas undeniable. ASU is not a resource-poor program. Yet, with a few exceptions (conspicuous precisely because they stick out), the Sun Devils have struggled over the past 25 years, ever since their 1987 Rose Bowl win over Michigan. Todd Graham is actually going to plant his flag in Tempe (well, at least for three years), so in light of this A-plus performance against Navy in San Francisco, the expectations have been established for 2013. It's time for Arizona State to meet its potential on a yearly basis. It's time for the Sun Devils to win 10 games and face non-service-academy foes in the postseason. It's time. USC is not what it was under Pete Carroll. UCLA showed a lot of warts in its bowl game. Colorado and Utah are… Colorado and Utah. Arizona is even more snake-bitten than Arizona State.

It's time, Sun Devils, in 2013. It's time.

2) Navy's loss should take nothing away from the Midshipmen's body of work in 2012. If anything, this decisive loss should magnify the extent to which the Midshipmen overachieved. This team was not as stout in the trenches as some of Niumatalolo's better assemblages of athletes in Annapolis, Md. Yet, it won back the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy and returned to a bowl game after Navy's eight-year bowl streak (2003 through 2010) was snapped in 2011. Navy covered itself in gridiron glory this year. This game is an easy throwaway for the Midshipmen, who have to like what they have in 2013 in quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

3) Army really missed out on a chance to snap that losing skid against Navy, didn't it?

4) Air Force's 6-7 season, which turned in the wrong direction in the Falcons' home-field loss to Navy, makes more sense now as well.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

This game demonstrates why the NCAA needs a selection committee to determine bowl matchups. Yes, most of the games have been competitive. However, these two teams had no business playing each other, as Arizona State is clearly the superior team.

Let's be honest: strength of schedule matters. Although Navy had a fine season, they were simply overmatched against a quality AQ opponent. Expect to see the same thing happen in the Orange Bowl.

Taylor Kelly is the real deal. Sure, he struggled in a couple of contests this year, but he played well in ASU's last three games. After hitting 17-of-19 for 273 yards against the Midshipmen - who finished the season 36th in passing defense - I'm curious to see if he overtakes Marcus Mariotta and Brett Hundley for all Pac-12 honors next season.

However, the game ball belongs to Rashad Ross, who caught four balls for 139 yards and 3 TDs.

If this is Will Sutton's last collegiate game, he made it a memorable one. Sutton terrorized the Navy backfield all afternoon, disrupting the triple option, and recording three sacks. Since he won the Pat Tillman Pac 12 defensive player of the year award this year, he doesn't have anything more to prove at this level.

Despite today's blowout loss, expect to see Navy post another strong record next season. The Midshipmen have plenty of talent on offense: it's just raw and inexperienced. With more a little more seasoning, the backfield of Keenan Reynolds, Chris Swain, and Noah Copeland could be something special.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Ouch. You thought Arizona State had a decent chance of winning, but not like that. This game was over when the buses pulled up by the bay.

- When does 351 yards of offense look bad? When it’s in a game where the other team throws up 648 yards of total offense. There wasn’t a viewer out there starving for offense in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

- It’s not often that the Midshipmen get outgained on the ground, but even that stat went the way of the Sun Devils to the tune of 314 to 376 yards.

- Want another stat that is out of whack in this game? Navy won the time of possession battle by almost seven minutes yet lost the scoreboard by an avalanche. The culprit? The big play. The Midshipmen gave up four plays for a touchdown over thirty yards. That many explosive plays don’t take much time off of the ticker.

- As good as the Sun Devil offense was this year, it should take the another step forward in 2013 when Taylor Kelly has another year of maturity under his belt. It’s unlikely that the Sun Devils contend for the Pac-12, but it should still be a fun year in the desert.