Bowl Game Prep: Arizona State Offense

With Navy set to take on Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on December 29th it is time to start looking at the threat that the Sun Devils present. There will be a look at the keys to the game nearer the time, but before then we are going to find the strengths, and weaknesses, of their offense, defense, and special teams, starting with the offense.

With Navy set to take on Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on December 29th it is time to start looking at the threat that the Sun Devils present. There will be a look at the keys to the game nearer the time, but before then we are going to find the strengths, and weaknesses, of their offense, defense, and special teams, starting with the offense.

Pass Offense - B

The Sun Devils are 44th in the country in passing offense at just under 260 yards per game. Taylor Kelly will be the man under center for Arizona State and he has had a solid, if unspectacular, season in which he has thrown 25 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. Kelly is just a sophomore and his inexperience showed in a stretch of games where ASU played their toughest opposition. In games against Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, and USC, Kelly threw seven of his nine picks. Navy will have to pass rush at the level of those teams if they are to keep Kelly under control and have a chance of winning the game.

Rush Offense - B

The balanced attack that Arizona State is capable of is shown by the fact that their passing and rushing rankings are just six places apart nationally. They rank slightly better on the ground in fact at No. 38 in the nation rushing for just under 190 yards a contest. Their two lead backs are Cameron Marshall and Marion Grice who have each rushed for over 500 yards and seven and nine touchdowns respectively. Grice in particular will be a real threat as he has also added eight scores on 37 receptions, many on check downs and screen passes which are essentially long handoffs.

Points Scored - A

It is no secret that the Pac-12 is a high scoring, fast tempo league in its current incarnation and the Sun Devils are not an exception to that general rule. Ranking at 21st in the nation at around 36 points per game this team is capable of getting hot in a hurry. They have been held under three touchdowns just twice all year (at USC and at Missouri) and have scored over 40 in half their games. It is going to be a real challenge for Navy to slow down, never mind stop, the Sun Devil onslaught.

Final Thoughts

For an 8-4 team Navy got a pretty interesting bowl draw in the Sun Devils. Though they score a ton of points, and concede relatively few, they were still just 7-5 coming out of a Pac-12 conference that was weak in the middle and at the bottom. Navy can beat ASU, but for that to happen the Mids ball control option offense is going to have to be at its best as the Sun Devils offense can take over a game in a hurry.

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