TUCSON (KOLD News 13) -- Wyoming and Georgia State have been invited to play at the fifth annual NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
The game is set for Tuesday, Dec. 31 and kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m.
“We could not be more thrilled to have the Wyoming versus Georgia State match up in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl," said Arizona Bowl Executive Director Kym Adair. “These two powerful programs are going to add fireworks on the field in addition to the fireworks in sky postgame. We can’t wait to see all the southern Arizona fans join these two fan bases at Arizona Stadium.”
The Wyoming Cowboys finished the season 7-5 and went 4-4 in the Mountain West Conference. The Cowboys were 6-0 at home, marking the first undefeated home season in War Memorial Stadium since the 1996 season.
Wyoming is one of the nation’s top rushing teams, averaging 208.5 yards per game. The Wyoming defense was one of the top units in the nation against the run allowing only 99.4 yards per game.
The Georgia State Panthers are playing in their third bowl game in five seasons
Georgia State (7-5) opened the season with an upset win over Tennessee but struggled to go 4-4 in Sun Belt Conference action.
Georgia State is led by senior running back Tra Barnett, who set school records for rushing yards in a game, season and career. It happened all on the same day in the Panthers’ 52-33 win over Troy. Barnett rushed for 242 yards that day before adding another 128 on Senior Day to become the school’s first 2,000-yard rusher.
"The process of obtaining teams for a Bowl game is akin to playing Twister while engaged in speech and debate,” said Ali Farhang, chairman of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. "We have worked zealously to get precisely the matchup we wanted. Wyoming and Georgia State will bring tens of thousands of fans to Tucson, which not only manifests in a significant impact on our economy but maximizes what the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl can do for local charities,."
The bowl’s Downtown Pep Rally is 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30 at Jacome Plaza. The event will feature both football programs’ bands, cheerleaders, and mascots in a friendly rivalry.
The Desert Diamond Casino Tailgate Festival will being at at 10:00 a.m. on the University of Arizona Mall. Food and beer vendors, a dynamic car show, Charity and iHeart Villages, alumni tailgate parties, and a stage filled with live music and entertainment will prepare fans for the big game.
Following the game, the celebrations will continue at the Downtown New Year’s Eve Bowl Bash, Tucson’s take on Times Square, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be an interactive Kids Zone, stages of amazing entertainment, an outdoor ice-skating rink, food trucks and beverage stations and the world’s largest piñata.
The countdown for the New Year will peak with the dropping of local artist Joe Pagac’s Tucson Taco, as well as fireworks off the roof of the historic Hotel Congress.