Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: South Alabama Jaguars vs. Air Force Falcons
Date: Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m. ET on Campus Insiders
Location: Arizona Stadium | Tucson, Arizona
Best moment: The moment Westin Graves' 28-yard field-goal attempt bounced off the left upright will be a moment the South Alabama players and coaches will remember forever. It preserved the Jaguars’ 21-20 win over Mississippi State and gave the program its first win over an SEC school. It’s only the eighth time a Sun Belt team has beaten an SEC team.
Lowest moment: Four of South Alabama’s six losses came by a touchdown or less, but the most gut-wrenching came in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe. It was a back-and-forth game throughout, but between 12 penalties and giving up four fourth-down conversions, it was a game the Jaguars felt they should’ve won.
Key player: Randy Allen. The senior defensive end has wreaked havoc in opposing backfields all season and is among the Sun Belt leaders with 14.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also has forced three fumbles, and he blocked a field goal against Presbyterian.
Motivation level: Still searching for its first bowl victory, the momentum should be high. South Alabama has played in only one other bowl game in school history, losing 33-28 to Bowling Green in the 2014 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. -- Greg Ostendorf
Best moment: A goal-line stand in the final minutes sealed a 27-20 win against then-No. 19 Boise State. Any win against Boise State in the Mountain West is something to be treasured, and this one prevented the Broncos from winning the Mountain division.
Lowest moment: All three of Air Force’s losses came in a three-game stretch in the middle of the season to divisional opponents -- Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii. The Hawaii loss particularly stings because it came in double overtime and quarterback Nate Romine completed just 1 of 10 passes.
Key player: Defensive back Weston Steelhammer, a fantastic name for a defensive player, was named first-team All-Mountain West for the third straight year. Along with USC’s Adoree’ Jackson, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Steelhammer is a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, a national defensive player of the year award that also takes into account character.
Motivation level: Low. The Falcons aren’t new to the bowl scene, having played in one in nine of the past 10 seasons, so it’s fair to wonder just how excited they’ll be for this one, especially after finishing fourth in their division. -- Kyle Bonagura