Three Keys Revisited: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Gee Gee Greene by (Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE)

In a season of hotly contested bowl games this one was over quickly. Arizona State scored early and often as they overwhelmed the Midshipmen in a season of points in San Francisco. Here is a look back at what went wrong in our final Three Keys Revisited of the season.

In a season of hotly contested bowl games this one was over quickly. Arizona State scored early and often as they overwhelmed the Midshipmen in a season of points in San Francisco. Here is a look back at what went wrong in our final Three Keys Revisited of the season.

1) Commitment to the Bowl

Navy seemed committed enough to put up a fight against the Sun Devils, they just never got the chance to do so. This looked like a dangerous bowl matchup from the day that the two teams were set and the sheer speed and strength advantage that Arizona State had on both sides of the ball was too much for the Mids to overcome. The only chance to win a bowl game in which you are overmatched is to hang tough and hope for mistakes, but the Sun Devils (and especially quarterback Taylor Kelly) were firing from the opening kickoff blitzing the Midshipmen on the way to a 21-0 lead.

It was unlucky for Navy that of all the bowls that have been played so far they landed a game against the team who have executed at a higher level than anyone in the nation.

2) Take advantage of the mismatch

It seems that in the weeks of practice leading up the Fight Hunger Bowl the Sun Devils spent some serious time retooling their run defense. Yes, Navy rushed for 313 yards and had the ball for 32 minutes, but much of this was done late in the game when the game was already out of sight. It wasn't even as if turnovers and mistakes were hurting the Mids (each team had just one turnover) they just simply couldn't get the run game going in what was the only area of strength they had over Arizona State coming into the contest.

We already knew the ASU pass defense was off the charts good, but Will Sutton put on a clinic in his final college game with three sacks against a Navy team which passes the ball rarely. He spent all day in the backfield and proved to be entirely unblockable.

3) Bring new wrinkles to the option

There may have been wrinkles in the game plan, but in the end it mattered little. Navy was unable to get the Sun Devils off the field, they never punted and faced just three third downs before the fourth quarter, and were blown out of the game quickly and efficiently. Though the bowl game is effectively a reward for the hard working players of the Naval Academy you have to believe that this will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all involved. It will be very interesting to see what impact this has on the offseason and the teams mindset coming into 2013.

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