Welcome to our new summer series. A lot has happened over Todd Graham's first three seasons as Arizona State's head football coach. Over the next two weeks, we will be ranking 15 of Graham's 28 total wins so far before the 2015 season, which has potential to send the program to new heights.
Our No. 12 victory saw the Sun Devils squeak by Utah thanks to a 13-point fourth quarter. At No. 11 in our countdown, we have Todd Graham's first bowl victory as the head coach of ASU football.
No. 11: December 29, 2012 - ASU blows out Navy in Graham's first bowl game
Most would agree that 2012 was the start of something that's growing to be very special in Tempe.
Todd Graham's first season at Arizona State got off to a fast start, as the 2012 Sun Devils jumped out to a 5-1 record to begin the regular season. However, the Sun Devils would drop the next four games, all to Pac-12 foes. An emphatic 46-7 win over Washington State stunted the losing streak and simultaneously granted the Sun Devils bowl eligibility. They followed that performance with a come-from-behind victory over rival Arizona, which included a 24-point explosion in the fourth quarter to push the Sun Devils to a 41-34 win in Graham's first Territorial Cup game.
After finishing the regular season on a two-game winning streak, registering a winning record, and a win over Arizona in the Territorial Cup, Graham's first-year checklist was only missing a bowl win.
That goal ended up being accomplished, and in very assertive fashion.
Led by quarterback Taylor Kelly, the Sun Devils offense scored the game's first 21 points against an outmatched Navy defense, giving ASU a commanding three-score lead in the first quarter.
After a Navy touchdown to open the second quarter, Arizona State responded with 28 straight points, including two 50-yard connections between Kelly and receiver Rashad Ross.
The scoring run would end when Navy's Gee Gee Greene returned a kickoff 95 yards to chip into the Sun Devils' lead, 48-14. However, Graham's unit followed that with two 30-yard rushing touchdowns from running backs Marion Grice and Cameron Marshall, giving the Sun Devils a 62-14 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen would tack on 14 points to end the game, bringing the final score to 62-28.
The Sun Devils' offense proved to be the overwhelmingly dominant force throughout the contest. Arizona State scored on their first nine possessions (all nine possessions during which the starting offense was in). The Mike Norvell-led unit racked up a whopping 648 yards of offense (268 passing, 380 rushing), with Kelly (who completed 17 of 19 attempts with four touchdown passes) as its focal facilitator. Defensively, defensive tackle Will Sutton was an absolute force, terrorizing the Navy backfield with three sacks on the day.
The win gave the Sun Devils a 8-5 record to finish the year, and closed Graham's inaugural season at the helm of the football program on a very high note.
WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: The momentum from finishing Graham's first season with an outstanding win over rival Arizona in the Territorial Cup, coupled with an emphatic blowout win to win a postseason bowl game carried over to the 2013 Sun Devil football season and beyond.
In 2013, the Sun Devils went on to win 10 games, along with the Pac-12 South crown. That was followed by another 10-win season in 2014, which included Arizona State peaking at No. 6 in the College Football Playoff poll.
Graham's tremendous first year has served as the foundation for future success at Arizona State, and since then his team has only continued to perform well.
The Sun Devils' blowout bowl win over Navy in the 2012 Kraft Hunger Bowl comes in at No. 11 in our countdown of his 15 best wins at ASU. Check back tomorrow for No. 10.