Dec. 29, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO - Just days after losing his brother to a tragedy, Marion Grice scored two touchdowns to help lead Arizona State to a 62-28 victory over Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Grice, who was named the game's Most Outstanding Offensive Player, rushed for 159 yards on 14 carries to help lead an explosive Sun Devils offense. The team had dedicated today's bowl game in memory of Grice's brother who was killed during a robbery on December 21.
"We were concerned about how well he would be able to play and he played unbelievably well," said Arizona State head coach Todd Graham. "He has a lot of brothers here to support him and that love him. We didn't have conversations about what happened (before the game). I just asked him if he wanted to play and he said yes. It was great to had Marion the game ball to take home with him."
"We opened our arms up for Marion," said quarterback Taylor Kelly. "I know he's having a hard time right now, but he's all in for this program."
Grice's two TD receptions moved him into the top five on ASU's all time single-season touchdown list.
Kelly solidified himself as one of ASU's most accurate quarterbacks of all time. Going into the game, Kelly had a completion percentage of 65.9 percent and was on track to break the school record. On the opening drive, Kelly marched the Sun Devils 75-yards down the field and connected with Rashad Ross in the end zone to put the Sun Devils up 7-0 and they never looked back. Kelly finished the game 17 of 19 for 268 yards and four touchdowns. He added another 81 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
"We've got a great QB," said Graham. "It's team first (with him). I've never doubted that. That's why we are bowl champions today and why we'll compete for a conference championship. I appreciate Taylor and his leadership. He's the offensive coordinator on the field."
Led by Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Will Sutton, the Sun Devils defense proved to be too much for Navy's triple option offense. Navy struggled to get things going as ASU's defense kept the Midshipmen to just 25 yards of total offense in the first quarter. Keenan Reynolds' was able to connect with Matt Aiken mid way through the second quarter for a 3-yard touchdown.
In the second half Gee Gee Greene returned a kickoff for 95-yards and a touchdown, the first kickoff returned for a touchdown in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl history.
Sutton finished the game with 2.5 sacks and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the game.
"They whooped our butts," said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. "I wish we could have played better. We had a hard time executing. Ultimately we needed stops. If we scored at the end of the half that would have given us some momentum, but they had a great plan and they executed."
This was the first time the two schools had faced each other in football. The win is Arizona State's first bowl victory since 2005 when the Sun Devils topped Rutgers 45-40 in the Insight Bowl. Navy has now lost five of its last six bowl appearances.