Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
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Arkansas State vs Nevada
When: 1:15 PM ET, Saturday, December 29, 2018
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona



ARIZONA BOWL STORYLINES

1. Arkansas State and Nevada, who briefly were conference-mates in the Big West Conference in the mid-90's, get together for the first time since 1999 when they meet in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Nevada holds a 4-2 edge in the series including a win in the FCS playoffs. Arkansas State won the last meeting 44-28 in Jonesboro, Ark., on Nov. 13, 1999.

2. Arkansas State brings a four-game winning streak into the contest and won five of its last six games with the lone loss to Louisiana 47-43, a defeat that cost the Red Wolves the West Division title and a spot in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Nevada finished tied for second in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference and had a four-game winning streak snapped in stunning fashion in their regular-season finale by in-state rival UNLV, blowing a 23-0 first half lead in a 34-29 loss in the annual Battle for the Fremont Cannon. The Red Wolves also played UNLV this season, using a 39-yard fourth quarter touchdown run by Marcel Murray to pull out a 27-20 victory.

3. This is Nevada's second trip to the Arizona Bowl. The Wolf Pack won the inaugural game in 2015 when they were matched up against a fellow Mountain West school in Colorado State - the two teams did not play in the regular season - and pulled out a 28-23 victory. That game was highlighted by Elijah Mitchell's 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, ending a streak of 215 games and 736 kickoff returns without a TD dating back to Oct. 31, 1998.

TV: 1:15 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network LINE: Arkansas State -1.5

ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt): The Red Wolves dominated the all-Sun Belt Conference teams, placing 17 players on the three squads and honorable mention while claiming four of the five major individual player awards. Senior quarterback Justice Hansen, who passed for 3,172 yards and 27 touchdowns while being intercepted just six times, was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year while Murray, who rushed for a team best 793 yards and seven touchdowns, took home Freshman of the Year honors and wide receiver Kirk Merritt, who had 75 catches for 939 yards and seven TDs, was named the league's Newcomer of the Year. Senior defensive end Ronheen Bingham, who had 18.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks, garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors.

ABOUT NEVADA (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West): Quarterback Ty Gangi didn't garner any all-conference honors but ranks 11th nationally in total offense (298.2 yards per game) and completed 250-of-409 passes for 3,131 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Toa Taua leads the ground game with 816 yards and six touchdowns on 156 carries and was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Linebacker Malik Reed, who had 72 tackles including 15.5 for loss to go with eight sacks and four forced fumbles, and defensive end Korey Rush, who had 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, lead the defense and were both first team all-Mountain West picks.



PREDICTION: Arkansas State 31, Nevada 27
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Arkansas State 8-4 W4 31.8 26.4 5-1 3-3 1-2 0-1 5-3
Nevada 7-5 L1 32.3 28.1 4-2 3-3 1-0 0-0 5-3
Last Meeting
Arkansas State Nevada
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/13/99 NEV 28 ARST 44 572 291 281 446 118 328
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Arkansas State N/A
Nevada N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Arkansas State N/A
Nevada N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Arkansas State N/A
Nevada N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Arkansas State N/A
Nevada N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Arkansas State J. Hansen 67.0 3172 27 6
Nevada T. Gangi 61.1 3131 23 11
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Arkansas State M. Murray 137 793 5.8 7
Nevada T. Taua 156 816 5.2 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Arkansas State K. Merritt 75 939 12.5 7
Nevada M. Mannix 50 875 17.5 7
Touchdowns Player TD
Arkansas State M. Murray 9
Nevada E. Cooks 7
Quickchart Matchup
Arkansas State Arkansas State Off vs  Nevada Nevada Def
Arkansas State 464.8 yards
Nevada 378.2 yards
Arkansas State 4.8 yards/rush
Nevada 3.5 yards/rush
Arkansas State 7.9 yards/attempt
Nevada 7.2 yards/attempt
Nevada Nevada Off vs  Arkansas State Arkansas State Def
Nevada 443.2 yards
Arkansas State 376.8 yards
Nevada 4.8 yards/rush
Arkansas State 5 yards/rush
Nevada 7.5 yards/attempt
Arkansas State 6.9 yards/attempt