Three Keys: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

It may seem like it has been three months since Navy last played football but it is finally time for the Mids to take the field against Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. We have spent the last week or so breaking down the different aspects of the Sun Devils team and now it is time to predict what Navy will have to do to beat them. Here are the final three keys of the season.

It may seem like it has been three months since Navy last played football but it is finally time for the Mids to take the field against Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. We have spent the last week or so breaking down the different aspects of the Sun Devils team and now it is time to predict what Navy will have to do to beat them. Here are the final three keys of the season.

1) Commitment to the Bowl

Neither of these teams has an especially happy recent bowl history. Arizona State hasn't won a bowl since a 2005 Insight Bowl victory over Rutgers and they got blown out by 32 in 2011 against Boise State. Navy, meanwhile, has lost four of its last five bowls and coach Ken Niumatalolo has been very frank in his statement that he treats a bowl game as a reward for players who are already loaded by the rigorous schedule at the academy. With that in mind it will be very interesting to see what the mindset is of a Mids team which has traveled to the West Coast for a bowl just before New Years. Look to see how fast Navy starts and if players are making that extra effort on runs and tackles to judge this one.

2) Take advantage of the mismatch

Arizona State is built defensively to stop the pass, which makes sense when you consider they play in the wide open and points happy Pac-12. Navy needs to take advantage of the fact that the strength of this defense which is ranked 12th nationally against the pass, and second nationally in sacks, will be rendered useless by the Mids commitment to the run.

Navy has only been slowed down by three teams in 2012, Notre Dame, Penn State, and San Jose State- all before Keenan Reynolds became the starter- and each of those schools entered bowl season in the Top 25 nationally against the run. ASU is 74th in this category and Gee Gee Green and company should find lanes to run through and be able to make game changing big plays.

3) Bring new wrinkles to the option

The option attack is deadly against teams who don't often see it and have just a week to prepare for its nuances during the regular season. Unfortunately, the weakness of the option is that with time (three weeks in this case) the skilled defensive coordinators in the modern collegiate game can scheme ways to limit its effectiveness and essentially shut it down. As a result Navy will have to work such aspects as simply more passes for Reynolds or as complex as more trick plays and different looks, if they are to avoid the possibility that Arizona State is simply prepared enough to shut the option down.

GoMids.com Top Stories