Arizona Bowl: What to Know

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In collaboration with M!KEDROPSPORTS

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-4) vs Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 29 at 12:15 CT

Location: Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona

Bowl history

Originated: 2015

History of Conferences: The first ever Arizona Bowl in 2015 featured two Mountain West teams (Nevada versus Colorado State) 

Last year’s result: New Mexico State beat Utah State 26-20 in overtime

Arkansas State bowl history

The Arizona Bowl is Arkansas State’s eighth consecutive bowl game. Prior to 2011, their only bowl appearance came in 2005. They are 3-5 overall in bowl games having lost three of their last four. Their last bowl win came in 2016, winning the Cure Bowl against UCF, which was the Knights last loss. 

Nevada bowl history

Nevada is just 5-10 in bowl games having lost seven of nine since 2006. The Wolfpack are 3-7 overall since joining the WAC in 1999. They played in the first Arizona Bowl, against Mountain West foe Colorado State in 2015. That was the school’s last bowl appearance. 

Series history

The Arizona Bowl will be the sixth meeting between these schools all-time, but the first since 1999. Nevada has a 3-2 edge winning all three games in Reno, while both of Arkansas State’s wins have come in Jonesboro. Arkansas State won the most recent game in 1999.

Game Notes

Players to watch 

Arkansas State: Justice Hansen, QB

Nevada:  Ty Gangi, QB

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Arkansas State

Arkansas State finished 8-4, their eighth straight season finishing over .500. But it was kind of a weird and kind of disappointing season. One of the losses was to Alabama…no explanation needed. They lost three Sun Belt games – both Sun Belt Championship game teams, Appalachian State and Louisiana along with 10 win Georgia Southern. 

Nevada

This is Nevada’s fifth seven-win season since 2011. The problem is they cannot get over the hump. They last exceeded seven wins in 2010, going 13-1 with Colin Kaepernick at QB. Nevada’s seven wins are their most since 2015. The Wolfpack were blown out by Vanderbilt but beat Oregon State. They lost to Toledo in another non-conference game while losing to MWC Fresno State and runner ups Boise State.

Final Analysis 

This Arizona Bowl features two exciting QBs. For Arkansas State, Justice Hansen threw for 3,172 yards along with 27 touchdowns. For Nevada, Ty Gangi threw for 3,131 and 23 touchdowns. Hansen threw just six interceptions, compared to 11 for Gangi and that’s what could be the difference in this game – protecting the football while limiting turnovers. Which ever QB plays mistake-free will likely lead their team to victory. 

For more college football talk, you can follow me at M!KEDROPSPORTS, on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports

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