The 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl features a matchup of the Navy Midshipmen (8-4) and the Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12). gschwendt of The Gaming Tailgate took the reins of the Navy Triple Option attack to see if he could take down the Pac-12 foe.
Sun Devils Defend the West Coast, Help to Fight Hunger by Beating Navy 19-14
San Francisco, C.A. – This year’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl was a boring, defensive matchup interrupted by a few moments of excitement. Both teams seemed determined to get their run game going but in doing so, it slowed down the pace of the game and allowed each defense to focus on stopping the run. However, that didn’t stop either team from creating a spark for their offense as Navy managed a 71 yard run while Arizona State rattled off a 90 yard run. In the end though, a defensive stop for the Sun Devils proved to be the key to the game.
The first moment of excitement occurred late in the first quarter as on a 3rd & 8, Navy QB #3 executed the Option Pitch just as the football gods drew it up finding FB #29 on the outside allowing him to bully his way into the endzone from 19 yards out. Late in the second quarter, two nearly back-to-back plays would get the crowd on their feet just before halftime. ASU QB #2 would connect to WR #32, allowing him to bob & weave his way into the endzone from 36 yards out. That gave the ball back to Navy with only 10 seconds remaining but that was just enough to run two plays, the second of which was a 71 yard speed option play that saw Navy HB #21 run in for the score. That would be the last excitement that Navy would be able to create.
However, Arizona State was not done. Down 14-13, The Sun Devils HB #21 took a sweep to the outside and had blockers in front to lead the way. Once he found day light, no one would be able to catch him as he ran a full 90 yards with no one within 5 yards of him as he crossed the goalline. ASU would fail their two-point conversion attempt giving Navy a glimmer of hope.
That hope came down to a 4th & 8 from the ASU 47 with 2:42 remaining. Despite not attempting very many passes on the day, the Midshipmen coaches dialed up a slant pattern that they expected would give them just enough yardage. Navy QB #3 did manage to connect with WR #86 over the middle, however the pass was low forcing the WR to come back for the ball and inevitably be tackled just inches short of the first down creating the final moment of excitement for the ASU defense. From there, The Sun Devils ran out the remaining 2:33 on the clock to secure their eighth win on the season defending the West Coast against the East Coast invaders.
Player of the Game: Arizona State HB #21 with 14 carries for 175 yards rushing and 1 rushing touchdown while also adding 3 receptions for 36 yards.
It was over when… Navy QB #3 under-threw only his 6th pass attempt on the day forcing Navy to turn the ball over on downs and eventually succumb to the loss.
Game Ball goes to… Navy HB #21, with his 71 yard run as the first half clock ticked to zero gave Navy some (but not enough) momentum going into the locker room at halftime.
Stat of the Game: 474. That is 474 yards rushing combined from the two teams while combining for only 167 yards passing.