Pitchfork Sports: Trio going Bowling

Earning a bowl bid for the second year in a row, the ASU Sun Devils will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Navy.

The game will take place in neutral San Francisco, Calif. on Dec. 29.

Navy is a totally different team that ASU is used to playing in the Pac-12. The Navy offense features a triple-option threat where the quarterback can decide if he wants to pitch it off to the trailing running back or keep it himself and run.

Navy’s running attack is one of the most lethal ground games in the country. In fact, their average of 286 yards per game on the ground is good for the sixth best nationwide. However, you cannot say that about their aerial attack. Ranking 121st in the country, the Midshipmen have trouble connecting to their wide receivers who have a slight height advantage against the undersized, but talented secondary of ASU.

This bowl game is meant as a reward for the team’s hard work during the season and a way to compete for something special in the postseason. However, this game does have significance for three Sun Devils with different goals on their mind.

Chris Coyle: Coyle is three receptions away from tying Zach Miller for ASU’s single-season reception record for a tight end. For a player who only had six receptions last year, Coyle is making the most of his opportunities this year. The junior has five touchdowns on the year and is looking to add more against a Navy team that he was recruited by and the alma-mater of both of his parents.

Will Sutton: The All-American has done no wrong this season. From winning the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award, to recording 10.5 sacks this season, Sutton has scouts paying attention to him on the defensive line. With Navy’s different style of running the ball, Sutton will be put to the ultimate run defense test. If Sutton brings his All-American style of play to the bay area with him, expect a long day for the Navy offense.

Todd Graham: As Graham’s first year in the program, he has changed a football nation in Tempe, AZ. Graham has officially disciplined the Devils and it reflects in the team’s penalty yards per game statistics. The team jumped from a bottom-10 team in the category to a top-10 team by only giving up on average 30 yards per game on penalties. Graham’s extra-effort to pack Sun Devil Stadium for the big games definitely got noticed by the fans and student body. The official attendance number for the blackout game vs Oregon turned out to be only a few short of maximum capacity at 71,004.

The Sun Devils are favored by 14.5 points by VegasInsider.

The upcoming bowl game for ASU will mark the end of another season, but still has implications for the Sun Devil record books, a bright future for the NFL, and a new era for ASU football.

 

You can reach me at etrianta@asu.edu