The 2018 Arizona Bowl will pit the Sun Belt Conference and Mountain West Conference against each other this season. Arkansas State will face Nevada on Dec. 29 (1:15 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). Here is the 2018 Arizona Bowl preview:
Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-4)
Bowl trips are commonplace these days for the Red Wolves, who are making their eighth consecutive postseason trip. They’ll also a bring a four-game winning streak to the desert, during which they’ve outscored their opponents 146-54.
A big reason for Arkansas State’s late surge is quarterback Justice Hansen, the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Hansen has thrown for 3,172 yards with 27 touchdowns and a career-low six interceptions on the season, with 12 of those touchdown passes and no picks coming over the last four contests.
Not to be outdone, defensive end Ronheen Bingham was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. He enters this contest with nine sacks and 18 1/2 tackles for loss.
The Red Wolves last faced Nevada in 1999, winning 44-28 at home.
Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5)
For the first time in three seasons, the Wolf Pack are bowling again. Nevada had won four in a row before being upset by UNLV in the regular-season finale.
Senior quarterback Ty Gangi led an offense that scored at least 40 points four times season with 3,131 yards, 23 touchdowns and was also the team’s fourth-leading rusher.
The Wolf Pack defense has been inconsistent at times this season, three times holding opponents to fewer than 20 points but also yielding 63 and 41 in games. They also have not given up more than 186 passing yards in their last three contests.
Nevada’s most recent bowl appearance happened to come in the inaugural Arizona Bowl with a 28-23 victory over Colorado State in 2015.
This is almost certain to be the forgotten matchup on college’s football grandest day of the season to date, with both national semifinals on the docket. However, it could end up being one of the more competitive bowl games in 2018. Both teams have the ability to put up points so the onus should come down to which defense is the stingiest.
Nevada 27, Arkansas State 20
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