Navy Midshipmen (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Fight for Hunger Bowl
Date/Time: December 29, 2012. 4:00 p.m. EST.
Where: AT&T Park. San Francisco, CA.
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Navy +14.5/ASU -14.5
Over/Under Total: 56
Is it just me or does every team out of the Pac-12 have a 7-5 record? I know the answer is no but man, talk about a mediocre conference with the exception of a couple dudes. Nevertheless, the Arizona State Sun Devils earned another post-season appearance, their second in as many years. ASU got beat up last year when they played Boise State in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl which they could have played in again with Boise State but the bowl officials opted to invite the Washington Huskies rather than a repeat of last year’s smack-down. Now ASU finds themselves as the favorite in this bowl game; will they be able to sink the Navy Midshipmen?
Navy finished the regular season with a win over their rival Army. The Mid’s did it in dramatic fashion as freshman QB Keenan Reynolds scored the game winning TD late in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard scamper after completing a long pass to set it up which gave Navy a 17-13 advantage and their 11th consecutive win over Army. As of 2003 Navy has 19 wins against BSC schools, from ten different programs which is the most in the nation by a non-BSC team.
The Midshipmen only get stronger as the game goes on. They have outscored their opponents in the second half of the last ten games by 70 points or 153-83. Navy’s defense has also been tough in the latter half as they’ve only allowed 8 touchdowns in the second half through as many games. Navy’s four losses are to opponents who are a combined 35-13. Two of those losses were at Notre Dame (12-0) ranked No. 1 in the country and playing for National Championship, and at San Jose State (10-2) ranked 24th in the nation and will play Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
Navy likes to run the pigskin as their slot backs have combined for over 1400 yards and 6 touchdowns on 200 carries which accounts for 7.3 yards per carry. The Mid’s fullbacks have accumulated 943 yards on the ground and scored 7 TDs on 202 carries. The Sun Devils defense will need to definitely address the running game to disrupt Navy’s balanced attack.
The Sun Devils will be tough to contain as they are also a well balanced offensive squad. ASU ranks 38th in rushing yardage (190 yards per game) and 46th in passing offense with 258 yards per game. Overall, the Sun Devils are ranked 31st in total offense with 449 yards per game and 21st in scoring at 36.4 points per game. ASU QB Taylor Kelly is ranked 23rd in the nation and for good reason; his numbers are impressive. Kelly has thrown for 2,772 yards and 25 touchdowns to just 9 INTs. Sun Devil’s WR Chris Coyle leads the way with 53 catches for over 600 yards and 5 TDs. Cameron Marshall is the leading rusher for the Devils with 524 yards and 7 touchdowns. Navy’s defense may struggle to stop both the ground and air attack that ASU poses.
Defensively, the Sun Devils are solid. ASU is ranked 2nd in the nation in sacks and tackles for loss. All-American DT Will Sutton anchors the defense and is ranked 5th in the nation for tackles for loss and 13th in sacks. Safety Keelan Johnson is 11th in the country in INTs which may force Navy to avoid throwing in his direction thus limiting their options. However, with the way Navy’s QB Keenan Reynolds plays, which is gutsy and confident, the Midshipmen will likely test ASU’s secondary from the first snap.
Az. St. may have a more difficult conference and schedule but Navy played with the nation’s best at Notre Dame and lost another close game at San Jose State-not exactly limping in by any miens-I like this matchup because both teams have balance and a variety of scoring options as well as dynamic QBs who can make plays. However, key defensive plays will decide this game.
Wilson’s Pick: I like the Midshipmen to play a tight, disciplined game and upset the favored Sun Devils. Navy wins: 27-21. Luck to ya.
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