2018 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada Vs Arkansas State
The Nevada Wolf Pack’s return to bowl season is at a familiar place, Tucson, Arizona.
Nevada To Play Arkansas State In Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
It was announced on Sunday afternoon that the Nevada Wolf Pack will be playing in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl and will face off against the Arkansas State Red Wolves out of the Sun Belt conference. The game will be on December 29th with the CBS Sports Network carrying the game.
This will be the first bowl trip for the Wolf Pack since 2015 when they were in the inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl where they defeated Colorado State 28-23.
This season the Wolf Pack under second year head coach Jay Norvell, have improved greatly. After going 3-9 in 2017, the Wolf Pack used an explosive offense and a shockingly improved defense to go 7-5 in 2018. Nevada finished second in the West division of the Mountain West with a 5-3 conference record as well.
The Wolf Pack have won four of their final five games to close out the season with their only loss being to their in-state rivals, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. This will be the 16th bowl appearance by the Wolf Pack in school history and their record in bowl games is 5-10 all time.
“We are honored to have this awesome opportunity to play in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, said Coach Norvell per Chris Murray of Nevada SportsNet when news broke that the Wolf Pack will be headed for Bowl Season.
Norvell went on to say about the Wolf Pack’s opponent, Arkansas State, that they are a “terrific program and we are excited for the challenge of playing them. I’m thrilled for our 17 seniors to have a chance to play in once more college game in their careers”.
Arkansas State finished the season with an 8-4 record and are on a four-game winning streak to close out the season. The Red Wolves finished second in the Sun Belt West standings as they just missed out on playing in the Sun Belt Championship game due to their loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on October 27th.
The Red Wolves are no strangers to playing teams from the Mountain West this season as they defeated UNLV back on September 22nd by a score of 27-20. Arkansas State is led by quarterback Justice Hansen who has completed 67 percent of his passes this season while throwing for 3,172 yards and has 27 touchdown passes to just only six interceptions.
The key playmakers on offense to go along with Hansen is running back Marcel Murray and wide receiver Kirk Merritt. Murray has rushed for 793 yards and has scored seven touchdowns this season for Arkansas State. Merritt has caught 75 passes for 939 yards and has also scored seven touchdowns this season.
Given the potential explosiveness of the offenses of Nevada and Arkansas State, I expect a lot of points will be scored on Tucson when these teams play.
When: Saturday, December 29th at 10:15am
TV: CBS Sports Network
Where: Arizona Stadium. Tucson, Arizona