TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of South Alabama football team received an invitation to play in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, it was announced on Sunday, recording another precedent in the Jaguars’ nearly eight full years of competition.
The Jaguars were the fastest NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program to receive a bid to a postseason bowl when they competed in the 2014 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Now they will be looking for their first-ever bowl victory after earning eligibility to compete in the postseason for the third time in the last four years.
“We’re going to a bowl game for the second time in four years, which is faster than any new program has ever done it,” said South head coach Joey Jones. “We have a lot of character on this football team, our senior class has taken the lead on that; there have been a lot of games where we could’ve folded our tent and didn’t do that. They are leading this team in a good direction.
“A lot of positive things happened this season, we beat an SEC team in Mississippi State — which is huge for our program — and a top-25 team in San Diego State, the Mountain West Conference champions. We lost some close [Sun Belt] conference games, but we’ve pretty much been in every game. As a coach you always want to win them all but overall, from the standpoint of where our program is at this point, I’m pretty excited.”
The 2016 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl will kick off at 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Friday, Dec. 30 at Arizona Stadium, with the game televised live nationally by the American Sports Network and also streamed on http://www.CampusInsiders.com. The Jags will face another MWC opponent in Air Force, which finished the regular season 9-3 overall and 5-3 in league action following a 27-20 victory over then No. 19 Boise State in their last outing.
The Jaguars became eligible to be invited to a postseason bowl Saturday with a 35-28 defeat of New Mexico State at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which evened USA’s overall record at 6-6.
“The number one thing we will have to do is stop the run. They are going to run the ball, we know that,” Jones explained. “But we have 12-15 days of practice to get ready for the option, we’re fortunate that it’s not a regular game week where you practice three days. I know two or three of their coaches, they are great guys who really understand the game; I have a lot of respect for their players and their staff. We’re looking forward to playing those guys.”
The USA Athletic Ticket Office will begin taking orders from Jaguar season ticket holders and donors at 10 a.m. Monday, with general sales of bowl tickets beginning Wednesday at 10 a.m. The cost for tickets ranges from $25-65 dollars, and parking can be purchased on day of game at a cost of $15. USA’s Athletic Ticket Office staff will make every effort to have tickets in the hands of those who have purchased prior to the holiday break, and tickets not delivered in advance can be picked up at will call at the stadium on the day of the contest.
Arizona Stadium has a clear bag policy, allowing pouches up to the size of 12″x6″x12″ as well as one-gallon Ziploc bags upon entry to the facility.
“This is a great opportunity for the football program and the University of South Alabama,” USA Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann said. “We encourage all members of Jag Nation to make their way to Tucson to support their Jaguars and the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.”
More information on the Jaguars’ NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl appearance, including travel and entertainment details, are expected to be announced in the near future.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with http://www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at http://www.twitter.com/USAJaguarSports. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).