As it prepares for its biggest game of the season, Saturday against Army, Navy learned that its opponent in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be Arizona State. This will be the first meeting between the schools. The game will be played on Dec. 29 in San Francisco.
The big, active front seven of the defense of ASU (7-5) will pose problems for Navy (7-4). The Sun Devils ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in sacks (48) and total defense (350.8 ypg). Junior DT Will Sutton (20 TFL, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles) was named conference defensive player of the year. Senior DE Brandon Magee was second in the league in tackles (104).
Junior QB Taylor Kelly, who completed 65.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions, leads an offense that averages 36.4 points per game for coach Todd Graham.
“Arizona State is an outstanding football team with great players on both sides of the ball,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. “We have played a very tough schedule this year and there is no doubt that Arizona State will be as talented as any team we’ve faced. However, right now our only focus is on Saturday’s game against Army. It’s the biggest game of the year and this year it has added significance with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy on the line. We will worry about Arizona State after the Army game.”
Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk urges fans to buy tickets through the Naval Academy Athletic Association. Kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com