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ABOUT NAVY (8-4, 4-8 ATS): The vaunted rushing attack sputtered early as the Midshipmen began the year 1-3. However, things turned around once freshman Keenan Reynolds took over under center for the injured Trey Miller. Reynolds threw for three touchdowns in his first start Oct. 12 at Central Michigan. He finished the regular season with 628 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns while passing for 884 yards and eight TDs. From the time Reynolds took over late in an overtime affair against Air Force, Navy went 7-1. The Midshipmen made eight straight bowl game appearances before falling short in 2011. They have lost four of their last five bowl games.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12, 7-5 ATS): It was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Sun Devils in coach Todd Graham's first season. After opening 5-1, they lost four straight to the best the Pac-12 has to offer, only to rebound with consecutive wins to finish it out, including a wild 41-34 victory over the Wildcats. Arizona State scored 24 straight points in the fourth quarter of that one. It was actually the only game all season in which sophomore Taylor Kelly failed to throw for a touchdown. Kelly ranked third in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency this season, helping the Sun Devils score 36.4 points, also third-best in the league. Defensive tackle Will Sutton was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and will be instrumental if Arizona State is going to slow down Navy's option attack.
The unorthodox offensive attack for the Midshipmen should test the Sun Devils' defense which ranked 75th against the run this season. Navy is sixth in the nation with 275.6 yards rushing per game and has three players with more than 600 yards rushing this season.
ASU LB Brandon Magee figures to be busy against the run-oriented attack. He had 104 tackles this season, becoming the first Sun Devil to top 100 since Robert James in 2007.
* Midshipmen are 5-2 ATS in their last seven Bowl games.
* Sun Devils are 0-4 ATS in their last four bowl games.
* Over is 5-2 in Midshipmen's last seven Bowl games.
* Under is 11-5 in Sun Devils' last 16 non-conference games.
Navy: 13-4 ATS away off a win by 6 points or less
Arizona State: 1-9 ATS away off a SU win as an underdog
The Midshipmen came a long way from their 1-3 start to earn a spot in the postseason. During those first three losses Navy was outscored by a 96-17 margin. The Midshipmen recovered from there though, winning five straight and seven of their final eight games overall to finish the regular season with an 8-4 record. It was a marked turnaround from a year ago when the team finished 5-7 and out of bowl contention for the first time in eight years.
"I'm very excited to be a part of a group of seniors to help get the program back on the right track" senior safety Tra'ves Bush said. "We've got a chance to come up with nine wins so we'll keep working hard and see if we can make that happen."
Junior Marion Grice was a potent force in the running and passing game for the Sun Devils, posting remarkably similar numbers in both realms. Grice had 520 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground while gaining 406 yards and eight TDs through the air. His 17 scores leave him one shy of moving into the top five on Arizona State's all-time single-season touchdown list.
As usual, Navy showcases a formidable ground game. It produced 275.6 rushing yards per game, sixth in the country. Arizona State also faced the third-ranked rushing unit in Oregon. Although the style and talent level between the Midshipmen and Ducks are not the same, it is worth noting that the Sun Devils gave up 406 yards on the ground against Oregon.
Arizona State: DT Will Sutton. The All-American had an impressive regular season with 20 tackles for loss, 10 1/2 sacks and 58 total tackles. He ranked fifth nationally in tackles for loss per game and 13th in sacks per game.
Navy: QB Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds took over midway through his freshman season and became the first Navy QB to win his first four starts since Bob Powers won six straight in 1979. Reynolds is 6-1 as a starter, completing 58 percent of his passes with eight TDs and only one INT. He also has rushed for 628 yards and 10 scores.
Navy and Arizona State head to San Francisco for their first meeting on a high note, having knocked off archrivals in their respective regular-season finales. The Midshipmen took care of Army for the 11th straight time while the Sun Devils defeated fellow bowl-bound Arizona in Tucson.