Instant analysis: Arizona State 62, Navy 28
December, 29, 2012
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com
Arizona State dominated Navy from the opening moments, winning 62-28 as the Pac-12 improved to 2-2 this bowl season.
It was over when: The game was over quickly -- 21-zip in the first quarter -- as the Sun Devils were dominant on both sides of the ball from the opening bell until the end.
Turning point: While there really wasn't a turning point, Navy seemed to announce that this wasn't going to be its day when it dropped a sure touchdown pass on a fourth-and-7 from the Sun Devils' 31-yard line in the first quarter. It would have closed the gap to 14-7 and given the Midshipmen some confidence. Instead, Arizona State quickly went 69 yards the other way for a 21-0 lead.
Game ball goes to: Last spring, Taylor Kelly was the Sun Devils No. 3 quarterback. But he led the Sun Devils to an eighth win by passing for four touchdowns and running for another. He completed 17 of 19 throws for 272 yards and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 76 yards on seven carries.
Unsung hero: Arizona State running back Marion Grice's 22-year-old brother Joshua Wood was killed during a robbery just before Christmas, a horrible tragedy that forced him to return home to be with his family and miss practices. Grice emerged from his grieving to post an outstanding game, rushing for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Let's hope that gave his heavy heart a boost.
Unsung hero II: The Sun Devils defense didn't always dominate, but it shut down Navy's triple option. The Midshipmen's second touchdown came on a 95-yard kickoff return from Gee Gee Greene and the bench was cleared for the entire fourth quarter, so the starting defense yielded only a single score. It's worth noting that defensive tackle Will Sutton, who is probably playing his final college game, had three sacks. One word: Unblockable.
Stat of the game: Arizona State gained 648 yards and didn't punt. In fact, it faced only three third downs through the first three quarters, converting each of them.
What it means: Arizona State finishes with three consecutive victories and an 8-5 record in coach Todd Graham's first year. The last time the Sun Devils won their final three games? 1978 under Frank Kush. When you toss in that one of those wins came over that team in Tucson, it's fair to say Graham's debut was a success that far exceeded expectations. There will be some wide grins heading into the offseason in Tempe.