It will be a ground vs. air war when the Navy and Arizona State football teams get together for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park.
Arizona State (7-5) was picked Sunday to play the Midshipmen (7-4) in the annual San Francisco bowl game. The Sun Devils, a familiar team to Bay Area fans as Arizona State plays in the Pac-12 Conference, are coming off a 41-34 victory over rival Arizona, while Navy will wrap up its regular season Saturday against Army at Philadelphia.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to select Arizona State to meet Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29,” bowl executive director and co-founder Gary Cavalli said in a press release. “It promises to be an intriguing matchup between two high-scoring, high-profile teams. Navy has won six of its last seven games, and ASU also finished strong with a come-from-behind win over Arizona in the Territorial Cup.”
Navy had an eight-year streak of bowl bids snapped last season when the Midshipmen finished 5-7. But coach Ken Niumatalolo got them back this season.
Arizona State made it to a bowl in its first season under coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils haven’t won a bowl game since beating Rutgers 45-40 in the Insight Bowl in 2005.
“The annual goal for every college football team is to have a successful season and play in a Bowl game,” Graham said in a press release. “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.”
The Sun Devils were third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 36.4 points per game. Junior quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for 2,772 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions, completing 65.9 percent of his passes. Kelly likes to spread the ball around as five players caught at least 33 passes, led by wide receiver Chris Coyle, who had 53 for 659 yards and five touchdowns.
While no one running back has busted out this season, four Arizona State rushers have at least 435 yards.
Conversely, Gee Gee Greene is one of three Midshipmen with at least 100 rushes and leads the team with 750 yards. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds has a team-best nine rushing touchdowns to go along with his 585 yards on the ground. He has also passed for 754 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception.