Arizona Bowl 2018: Arkansas State vs. Nevada TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 28, 2018

Nevada quarterback Ty Gangi (6) passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Boise State in Boise, Idaho, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

The final college football bowl game featuring a pair of Group of Five teams is tucked into Saturday's busy schedule. 

Arkansas State out of the Sun Belt and the Mountain West's Nevada face off in the fourth-ever Arizona Bowl. 

The Red Wolves are participating in their eighth straight postseason game, but they have a 1-3 bowl record under head coach Blake Anderson. 

The Wolf Pack are back in a bowl game for the first time since 2015, when they won the inaugural Arizona Bowl over Colorado State in a rare postseason matchup between teams from the same conference. 

                     

Arizona Bowl Information

Date: Saturday, December 29

Time: 1:15 p.m. ET 

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TV: CBS Sports Network

Live Stream: CBS Sports app

Odds (via OddsShark): Nevada -1; Over/Under: 56.5

              

Preview

Arkansas State comes into the Arizona Bowl in slightly better form than Nevada, as it won its final four regular-season games. 

In those contests, the Red Wolves outscored opponents 146-54, and quarterback Justice Hansen threw 12 touchdowns.

Hansen's success in the pocket usually correlates with an Arkansas State victory, as he's thrown 24 of his 27 touchdown passes in victories, and in all but one of his team's eight wins, he recorded at least two scores through the air. 

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 08:  Justice Hansen #15 of the Arkansas State Red Wolves looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

During the four-game winning run, Hansen has received support from running backs Marcel Murray and Warren Wand. 

Wand was the more effective of the two runners to close the regular season, as he scored in three of the final four games and recorded a season-high of 145 rushing yards against Texas State. 

In addition to blowing out its recent opponents, Arkansas State boasts the 28th-best passing defense in the FBS, but it is susceptible to conceding scores through the air, as it allowed 28 passing touchdowns. 

That's a statistic that should make Nevada quarterback Ty Gangi feel comfortable entering Saturday's contest. 

Gangi and his teammates carry plenty of motivation into the Arizona Bowl, as they have a sour taste in their mouths from the defeat at the hands of UNLV to close out the regular season. 

Before the surprising five-point loss, Nevada reeled off four straight victories, including wins over Hawai'i and San Diego State, to become bowl eligible. 

Gangi, who threw for 3,131 yards in the regular season, caught fire during the winning run, and he ended it with a 404-yard outing against Colorado State and a 314-yard performance in the win over San Jose State. 

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Ty Gangi #6 of the Nevada Wolf Pack drops back to throw a pass against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The senior quarterback should receive support on the ground from running backs Kelton Moore and Toa Taua, who both recorded a triple-digit yardage haul in November. 

Taua's received the majority of the carries for Nevada, but expect Moore to play some type of role out of the backfield as well. 

Defensively, Nevada ranks four spots above Arkansas State in passing defense, and it's given up four fewer touchdowns while intercepting eight more passes than the Red Wolves. 

Nevada also sits 31st in rushing defense, as it has conceded 3.5 yards per carry, which means it should be able to stop Arkansas State's running back tandem for stretches. 

                 

Prediction

Nevada 26, Arkansas State 21

Nevada carries more motivation into the Arizona Bowl because of its frustrating loss to UNLV and its first bowl appearance since 2015. 

Because of that, Gangi outperforms Hansen in the passing game to create an advantage for the Wolf Pack, and in the fourth quarter, their defense comes up with a pair of key stops to hand the Mountain West its third bowl victory. 

              

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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