Sun Devils rout Navy in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

The Arizona State University football team put it in the left lane, with the hammer down early and often, on Dec. 29, as the team routed Navy, 62-28, to win the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

A 34-7 halftime lead set the tone for a dominating third quarter that saw ASU score four touchdowns to blow the game open even further – three of which coming in 55 seconds or less as the team set a new school record for points scored in a bowl game. The 28 points was the most scored in a quarter in ASU bowl history.

The Sun Devils finished with 648 yards of total offense – over 50 more than the team’s previous highest total this season of 593 yards against Colorado and was among the top-10 highest-grossing offensive games in school history and the most since putting up a school record 773 yards against Northwestern in 2005.  At 9.6 yards per play today, the Sun Devils with just shy of the NCAA Division I bowl record of 9.9, set in the 2011 Orange Bowl by Stanford.

With 36 first downs on the contest, the Sun Devils tied the NCAA Division I Bowl record with two other teams (Oklahoma in the 1991 Gator Bowl in a 48-14 victory over Virginia AND Marshall in the 2001 GMAC Bowl in a 64-61 double OT victory over East Carolina).

Taylor Kelly finished 17-of-19 for 268 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters of action before letting the reserves take it home. He finished his debut season as ASU’s quarterback with 29 touchdown passes, good for second on ASU’s all-time single-season list.

Three of those touchdowns went to Rashad Ross, who finished his career with the best game of his life with three touchdowns on four receptions for 139 yards – including two bombs of 50 or more yards. 

Marion Grice had 159 yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns and finished his season with 19 touchdowns – the third highest single-season scoring tally in school history.  The performance garnered him the Offensive MVP honor for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Cameron Marshall had two rushing touchdowns on his own and finished his illustrious career at ASU with 38 total touchdowns – the second most behind only Woody Green’s 43 from 1971-73.

Will Sutton finished the game with 2.5 sacks to give him 13 on the season and that was good for the fourth-most in a single season in school history and his 23.5 tackles for loss this year is also fourth all-time.  He was named the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Defensive MVP for the performance.

The Sun Devils scored touchdowns on its first nine possession of the game and it took until the fourth quarter for a drive to fizzle out for ASU and that was with the reserves in the game.

Kelly was 12-of-14 in the first half for 168 and three touchdowns, culminating in a 52-yard bomb to Ross for the senior’s second touchdown reception of the game and the longest passing play of ASU’s season to put the Sun Devils up 34-7 with just under a minute left in the half. 

Grice had nine rushes for 80 yards (8.9 avg.) in the half and a touchdown while Kelly added 41 yards on four rushes and his first career rushing touchdown on a one-yard keeper in the first quarter.

The team’s 27-point halftime lead was its largest in its bowl history and the 34 points scored in the first half was the most scored in a single bowl half in school history.

ASU is now 13-12-1 all-time in bowl games and won their first bowl game since the 2005 Insight Bowl, a 45-40 victory over Rutgers. 

With the victory, head coach Todd Graham improved to 8-5 in his first year as head coach of the Sun Devils and is now 4-1 in bowl games in his career.  With eight wins this year, it was the most for the Sun Devils since posting 10 in 2007.

The Sun Devils have an exciting schedule on top next season as they are slated to play the Pac-12 champion Stanford, the Big Ten Champion Wisconsin and the potential NCAA Champion Notre Dame in what is sure to be an exciting year for the squad.