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The wolves will be running in Arizona in late December.

Arkansas State University (8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt Conference) and Nevada (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West) will meet for the first time since 1999 in the Arizona Bowl at 12:15 p.m. Central on Dec. 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.

"When we heard the news of who we were playing," ASU senior defensive end Ronheen Bingham said, "we were very excited."

The Wolf Pack finished tied for second place in the Mountain West's West Division along with Hawaii and have won four of their previous five games entering the Arizona Bowl.

Nevada, which defeated Hawaii, San Diego State, Colorado State and San Jose State before losing 34-29 to Nevada, Las Vegas in its regular-season finale, became bowl eligible for the first time 2015. The Red Wolves defeated UNLV 27-20 on Sept. 22 in Jonesboro.

"They play good ball," said ASU Coach Blake Anderson, who faced Nevada in 2011 as Southern Mississippi's offensive coordinator. "Their losses came against good people."

Nevada defeated Colorado State 28-23 in the first-ever Arizona Bowl at the end of the 2015 season.

This season, the Wolf Pack lost September games to Vanderbilt (44-10) and to Toledo (63-44) and in October to the conference's West Division champions, Fresno State (21-3) and Boise State (31-27).

"We are honored to have this awesome opportunity to play in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl," Nevada Coach Jay Norvell said in a news release Sunday. "Arkansas State is a terrific program and we are excited for the challenge of playing them."

ASU officially accepted its bid to the Arizona Bowl on Tuesday, marking the school's eighth consecutive year in a bowl game.

Including this year's trip to Tucson, ASU will have played in all five of the Sun Belt's guaranteed bowl game slots since the 2014 season. ASU is 1-3 in its four previous bowl games under Anderson.

Middle Tennessee State defeated ASU 35-31 in the Camellia Bowl in 2017. The Red Wolves beat Central Florida 31-13 in the 2016 Cure Bowl.

ASU lost 47-28 to Louisiana Tech in the 2015 New Orleans Bowl and was defeated 63-44 to Toledo at the end of the 2014 season in the GoDaddy Bowl, known now as the Dollar General Bowl.

ASU's 35-day window from Nov. 24 -- its regular-season finale victory at Texas State -- to Dec. 29 will be the school's longest layoff between the regular season and bowl game since the 2014-15 season.

ASU had 36 days from Nov. 29 to Jan. 4, 2015, before the Red Wolves met Toledo in Mobile, Ala.

"You know, it's tough," Anderson said. "I like that as beat up as we are, we're going to get some guys healthy. But it does present a challenge."

Final exams at Arkansas State begin Wednesday. The Red Wolves will return from the holiday break Dec. 19, when ASU's Nevada-specific game prep will begin. The team will depart for the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 25.

"After a long season, I like it," said ASU senior quarterback Justice Hansen. "It's one of the positive things about it. We can go in and get healthy."

Sports on 12/03/2018

Print Headline: Red Wolves draw Wolf Pack in Arizona Bowl


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