TUCSON, AZ – On a cold crisp day in the Southwest, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-5) took on the Nevada Wolfpack (8-5) at the annual Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
It was a low-scoring affair, but Ty Gangi’s 11-yard pass to Reagan Roberson gave Nevada a 16-13 victory in overtime over Arkansas State on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.
The Wolfpack became the first team to win two, Arizona bowl trophies, as Nevada also won in 2015, during the bowl games’ inception.
Sloppy, is how I would describe this one. A game that saw 29 total points, 784 yards, and five interceptions, it really was a battle until the end.
The Red Wolves had numerous opportunities but ultimately came up short. “They [Nevada] made the plays they needed to and we didn’t”, said ASU Head Coach Blake Anderson.
Despite out gaining Nevada by over 200 yards, mistakes in the red zone doomed Arkansas State.
Arkansas State started off with the ball in this one, but like Nevada, both teams played field position through much of the first half.
Finally, the 0-0 tie was broken with a little over five minutes to go in the second quarter, when Nevada kicker Ramiz Ahmed connected on a 36-yard attempt to make it 3-0.
On the ensuing drive, Arkansas State would go 75 yards on six plays to regain the lead at 7-3, when running back Marcel Murray would find the end zone from two-yards out!
That would take us to the halftime, where ASU would lead 7-3.
Hoping to carry that momentum, the third quarter was where the game turned sour for Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves got inside Nevada’s 10-yard line twice and couldn’t score. In that quarter, Arkansas State had a missed field goal, a turnover on downs and an interception.
Nevada Head Coach Jay Norvell really credited the effort of his team in their win.
“They really just would not be denied,” said Novell, “we talked today about playing four quarters and I guess we played five today.”
And fight they did coach! After taking a late lead in the fourth quarter, Nevada gave up a field goal as time expired that sent the game into overtime. His team would respond by winning the game in epic fashion.
As for Anderson, he really took the blame in this one, citing the teams woes in not scoring when it mattered. Anderson wanted to get win number nine for his seniors, but said “we’ll go back to work in January and try and build from scratch.”
Both teams will get to the off-season and try to build on their success from this season.