ANNAPOLIS, MD —Navy and Arizona State will meet on the gridiron for the first time at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco it was announced today by Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director and co-founder Gary Cavalli. The game will kick at 1:00 PM in San Francisco (4:00 PM ET) and will be televised by ESPN2.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to select Arizona State to meet Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29," Cavalli said. "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. We look forward to welcoming the Midshipmen and Sun Devil players and coaches, as well as thousands of their fans, and providing them with a memorable experience in San Francisco."
The Sun Devils finished the regular season 7-5, with a 5-4 record in the Pac-12, including a 41-34 victory over in-state rival Arizona. Arizona State scored 24 fourth quarter points to rally from a 10-point deficit in that game as running back Marion Grice carried 18 times for a career-high 156 yards and three touchdowns.
"Arizona State is an outstanding football team with great players on both sides of the ball," said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo. "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."
"The annual goal for every college football team is to have a successful season and play in a Bowl game," said Arizona State head coach Todd Graham. "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."
Led by junior QB Taylor Kelly, Arizona State was third in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, averaging 36.4 points per game. The Sun Devils were also formidable defensively, ranking second [to Pac-12 champion Stanford] in allowing only 350.8 yards per contest.
Kelly (224-340-2,772-25 TD-9 INT) completed 65.9% of his pass attempts while throwing for an average 231 yards per game. Five receivers caught 33 or more passes on the year, led by WR Chris Coyle (53-659-5 TD).
Arizona State ranked first overall against the pass, permitting just 178.8 yards per game through the air in the passing-conscious Pac-12 Conference.
The Sun Devils additionally picked off 20 passes in 12 games, returning three for touchdowns. Part of that success is attributed to a front seven that ranked second in the Pac-12 with 48 sacks.
Junior defensive tackle Will Sutton was named the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year despite missing a portion of the season due to injury. He had a team-leading 10.5 sacks while totaling 58 stops.
Senior DE Brandon Magee was the Pac-12's second-leading tackler, with 104 stops that also featured 6.5 sacks. He had 17 tackles against Arizona.
"Based on our visit in 2004, we have seen first hand that the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is a magnificent overall environment and event," said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. "The city of San Francisco, the stadium, the hospitality from the community, the bowl administration and the beauty of Northern California present as fine a postseason experience as we could possibly enjoy. The Academy is sincerely grateful to Gary Cavalli and his staff for inviting us back and setting the stage for our team to earn an enjoyable trip to the West Coast and an inspiring matchup against a great Arizona State team."
Tickets for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl are on sale now at www.navysports.com.
Tickets can also be purchased starting Monday morning at 9 a.m. by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or at the Ricketts Hall Box Office.
Ticket prices are $25 (Upper Level End Zone), $40 (Upper Level Corner), $50 (Upper Level Sideline and Lower Level End Zone and Corner), $60 (Lower Level Sideline and Sideline Bleacher behind the team bench) and $75 (Club). The only way to sit with the Navy contingent is to buy your tickets through the Navy ticket office.
Fans can also purchase tickets to sponsor midshipmen and enlisted personnel and their families for $50 per ticket. Donated tickets are 100% tax deductible.
"We strongly encourage Navy fans to buy their bowl tickets directly from the Naval Academy Athletic Association," said Gladchuk. "It is very important for this game and for future Navy bowl considerations for our fans to purchase tickets through the NAAA. If you can't make it to the game we ask that Navy fans buy tickets for our midshipmen and enlisted personnel, which will allow us to create the usual pageantry of Navy football."
Anthony Travel is the official Naval Academy Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl travel agency. Travel packages include hotel accommodations at the Westin St. Francis Hotel (Navy team hotel). Visit AnthonyTravel.com and search Navy Bowl or call (800) 736-6377 to make your reservations.
This will be Navy's 18th bowl appearance in school history and the ninth in the last 10 years.