SAN FRANCISCO -- Arizona State set a couple of scoring records in its 62-28 victory over Navy in Saturday's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, but the focus remained on ASU running back Marion Grice, who no doubt would have preferred to avoid the attention.
The Sun Devils (8-5) scored touchdowns on their first nine possessions at AT&T Park, and their 62 points were not only a record for this bowl (now in its 11th year) but also the most ever scored in any bowl by a current Pac-12 team.
Although ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly had sparkling numbers, teammate Grice was named the game's most outstanding offensive player. Grice was certainly the sentimental choice.
Grice had 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries, with 80 of those yards coming in the first quarter. Grice, who also had two receptions for 19 yards, had returned home to Houston for four days last week after his brother, Joshua Wood, was shot and killed by men who allegedly demanded sneakers Wood had just purchased. Grice returned to the team on Christmas Day, and he ended the emotional eight-day stretch with a big game.
"It was really awesome for me to hand Marion the game ball for him to take with him," first-year ASU coach Todd Graham said. "It was his decision obviously (whether to play). It's really been difficult for him. I didn't know if he'd be able to play and he was still very emotional after the game. He's a very private person."
He was so emotional, in fact, that he was not made available to the media afterward.
"We just opened our arms to him," Kelly said in the postgame interview room. "He's having a hard time in the locker room. Otherwise, he'd be out here."
Kelly completed 17 of 19 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns, with three of those scoring passes going to Rashad Ross. Ross had only one other reception but wound up with 139 receiving yards. Kelly also rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown despite not playing in the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils totaled 648 yards of offense and did not score after getting their final touchdown with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
"We couldn't stop them," Navy linebacker Brye French said. "Everything we tried, they just dominated us. We knew what they did; we just couldn't stop it."
The Midshipmen (8-5) had been 6-1 with freshman Keenan Reynolds starting at quarterback, but they fell too far behind for him and Navy's triple-option ground attack to make a comeback. Reynolds was just 5-for-11 for 14 yards and an interception and rushed for 21 yards. He had to leave the game early in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit from Anthony Jones, although he said afterward he was fine.
"Playing in the Pac-12, and the losses they had, we knew their record didn't show how good a team they are," Reynolds said.
Gee Gee Greene had 112 yards rushing, and his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter was the highlight of the game for Navy, which was behind 48-7 before that play.
The Sun Devils won their final three games, scoring more than 40 points in each, and won a bowl game for the first time in seven years.
Arizona State assumed control of Saturday's game at the outset, taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
"They were a machine," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "They whupped our butts. I just wish we could have played better."
The Sun Devils met little resistance on their first possession, marching 75 yards in eight plays for a score. The touchdown came on a 16-yard pass from Kelly to Ross, and Grice ran three times for 35 yards on the drive.
Arizona State had no trouble scoring on its second possession, either. It took the Sun Devils eight plays to cover 60 yards for the score, with Grice finishing it off on a 10-yard touchdown run.
Navy missed a chance to score on the ensuing possession when Greene let a potential touchdown pass go through his hands in the end zone on a fourth-down play that started on the Arizona State 31-yard line.
ASU made it 21-0 when Kelly scored on a one-yard run with eight seconds left in the first period to complete a 69-yard drive.
Navy got on the scoreboard with an 84-yard drive to make it 21-7 in the second quarter. But ASU quickly made it 28-7 on Kelly's 10-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Agwuenu to complete a 55-yard drive.
A 52-yard scoring pass to Ross late in the second quarter and a 50-yard TD pass to Ross early in the third made it 41-7.
NOTES: Navy and Arizona State had never met in a football game before Saturday. ... Arizona State was ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press poll after its 5-1 start, then lost four games in a row. ... Navy was playing in its ninth bowl game in the past 10 years, but it lost four of its last five postseason games before Saturday. ... ASU's Chris Coyle set an Arizona State single-season record for receptions by a tight end with his 57th catch.