Arkansas State gets a Camellia Bowl bid

Arkansas State wide receiver Jeff Foreman (14) grabs a reception in front of Troy cornerback Damaje Yancey (18) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Arkansas State wide receiver Jeff Foreman (14) grabs a reception in front of Troy cornerback Damaje Yancey (18) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)


For the first time since 2019 and in the Butch Jones era, Arkansas State is going bowling.

It was announced Sunday that the Red Wolves will face Northern Illinois in the Camellia Bowl on Dec. 23 in Montgomery, Ala., at the Cramton Bowl Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central. The game will be televised by ESPN.

It will be the 18th bowl game appearance for the ASU program and the third time it has played in the Camellia Bowl. In their most recent appearance at the Camellia Bowl in 2019, the Red Wolves defeated Florida International 34-26.

Like ASU, Northern Illinois heads to Montgomery with a record of 6-6. After starting the season slow, NIU has rattled off wins in five of its last seven games to become bowl-eligible. Needing a win last week to secure a bowl bid, the Huskies went on the road and defeated Kent State 37-27.

A member of the Mid-American Conference, NIU will play in a bowl game for the 15th time as an FBS member school. Of its bowl appearances, 14 have occurred since the 2004 season, including a trip to the Orange Bowl following the 2012 season that saw the Huskies fall to Florida State 31-10.

"We are excited to continue NIU football's bowl tradition with this appearance in the Camellia Bowl," Northern Illinois Athletic Director Sean T. Frazier said in a release Sunday. "Our team is looking forward to another chance to be on the field together and to take advantage of the bowl experience in Montgomery."

ASU Coach Butch Jones is expected to meet with members of the media this morning for a bowl-game news conference at the Centennial Bank Athletics Operation Center in Jonesboro. While it is the first bowl game Jones has taken the Red Wolves to in three seasons, it is the fourth program he has led to bowl game appearances.

Prior to Arkansas State, Jones coached in bowl games while at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Tennessee. This will be the ninth bowl game that Jones has coached in, the most recent being in 2016 when he led Tennessee to a 38-24 victory over Nebraska in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.

ASU and Northern Illinois have previously met eight times dating back to 1990. The most recent matchup was in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl at Mobile, Ala. The Huskies came out on top in that game 38-20.

Northern Illinois holds a 7-1 lead in the series. Arkansas State's only win was 28-21 in 1995 at DeKalb, Ill.

Tickets are currently available online and can be purchased at AStateRedWolves.com/BowlCentral. Tickets start as low as $30, while premium tickets can be purchased from $100-$150.

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10th Camellia Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois

WHEN 11 a.m. Central, Dec. 23

WHERE Cramton Bowl Stadium, Montgomery, Ala.

TV ESPN

RECORDS Arkansas State 6-6; Northern Illinois 6-6