Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl 2012
By: Tyler Gosnell
The Arizona State Sun Devils will face the Navy Midshipmen in the third Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The two teams will meet for the first time on Saturday, December 29 at AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. [PST]/4:00 p.m. [EST] kickoff and will be shown to a national audience by ESPN2.
Game tickets are available by accessing the Bowl’s website [www.kraftbowl.org], by calling 800.225.2277 or at the AT&T Park Ticket Office.
The Sun Devils finished the regular season 7-5, with a 5-4 record in Pac-12 Conference play. Included in the five triumphs was a 41-34 victory over in-state rival Arizona. Arizona State scored 24 4th quarter points to rally from a 10-point deficit. RB Marion Grice carried 18 times for a career-high 156 yards and three touchdowns.
Navy brings an 8-4 record into the game. The Midshipmen held off Army 17-13 December 8 and claimed the coveted Commander-in-Chief's trophy, awarded annually to the triangular winner of the round-robin series involving Army, Navy & Air Force. Navy defeated Army for the 11th consecutive time and is now 57-49-7 overall against the Cadets in a series that began in 1890.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to select Arizona State to meet Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29," Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director and game co-founder Gary Cavalli said. "It promises to be an intriguing matchup between two high-scoring, high-profile teams. Navy won seven of its last eight games, and ASU also finished strong with a come-from-behind win over Arizona in the Territorial Cup.
"We look forward to welcoming the Midshipmen and Sun Devil players and coaches, as well as thousands of their fans, and providing them with a memorable experience in San Francisco."
Steve Patterson, ASU Vice President for University Athletics, noted, "We are very proud to be able to represent Arizona State University and the Pac-12 Conference in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. This invitation is the culmination of a fine first season for Head Coach Todd Graham, his coaching staff and our student-athletes. The Bay Area is one of ASU's most important markets. Our fans have a wonderful Bowl experience to look forward to and we encourage them to come out and enjoy all that San Francisco and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl have to offer."
Arizona State competes in its 26th bowl game, with a 12-12-1 overall mark. Under first-year coach Todd Graham, the Sun Devils were one of only three Pac-12 schools to win three conference road games, defeating California, Colorado and Arizona along the way. The Sun Devils won four of six home games at Sun Devil Stadium.
Led by junior QB Taylor Kelly, Arizona State was third among Pac-12 offenses in scoring an average 36.4 points per game. The Sun Devils were also formidable defensively, ranking second [to Pac-12 champion Stanford] in allowing only 350.8 yards per contest.
Arizona State ranked first overall against the pass, permitting just 178.8 yards/game through the air in the passing-conscious Pac-12 Conference.
The Sun Devils additionally picked off 20 passes in 12 games, returning three for touchdowns. Part of that success is attributable to a front seven that ranked 2nd among Pac-12 teams with 48 sacks
"The annual goal for every college football team is to have a successful season and play in a Bowl game," Graham said. "We are very proud to have reached that goal by participating in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against a worthy opponent such as the U.S. Naval Academy. It will be an honor to travel to and participate in this wonderful Bowl experience in one of America's great cities."
Kelly [224-340-2,772-25 TD-9 INT] ranked 4th overall among Pac-12 QBs. He completed 65.9% of his attempts while throwing for an average 231 yards/game. Five receivers caught 33 or more passes on the year, led by WR Chris Coyle [53-659-5 TD].
Arizona State junior DT Will Sutton was named the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year despite missing a portion of the season due to injury. The fifth-ever Sun Devil so honored had a team-leading 10.5 sacks while totaling 58 stops, 38 solo.
Senior DE Brandon Magee was the Pac-12's 2nd-leading tackler. His 77 solo stops led the conference en route to a total 104 that also featured 6.5 sacks. He had 17 tackles against Arizona, 14 solo.
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