Coach: Blake Anderson
Arkansas State Players to watch:
Senior QB Justice Hansen (6-4/218)
Named the Sun Belt POY, Hansen completed the regular season as the Sun Belt’s leader in total offense (297.3 ypg), passing yards (264.3 ypg), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202). Going into his final game, Hansen is the Sun Belt’s second all-time leader in passing touchdowns (83) and ranks sixth in total offense (10,807 yards) and eighth in passing yards (9,858).
Senior DE Ronheen Bingham (6-2/244)
Bingham leads the Sun Belt in both sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (18.5) and is ranked No. 27 in tackles (5.4 pg). The Bennettsville, S.C., native is responsible for the 11th most tackles for loss and 21st most sacks in the nation, while also ranking No. 9 in the nation among defensive linemen in tackles.
***Freshman WR Kirk Merritt (6-0/210)
Merritt currently tops the Sun Belt in both receptions (6.2 pg) and receiving yards (78.2 pg), and he ranks No. 21 and No. 34 in the nation in each stat, respectively. His 75 receptions are the fourth most in school history for a single season, and his 939 yards and seven receiving touchdowns are both the fifth most.
Senior NB Justin Clifton (6-0/204)
The secondary is led by senior Justin Clifton, a first-team all-Sun Belt selection. He was second on the team with 75 tackles and also intercepted two passes (returning one for a touchdown).
Coach: Jay Norvell
Nevada Players to watch:
***Freshman RB Toa Taua (5-10/220)
The Lompoc, California, native led all Mountain West freshman with 816 yards and six rushing touchdowns. His 816 yards ranked him 10th-most among freshman running backs nationally.
Senior DT Korey Rush (6-0/285)
Rush broke his foot on Oct 27th. His recovery is on track to return in time for the game. Even though he missed the final three games of the season, he was still second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss, and finished second in the conference in tackles for loss per game, and fourth in the MW in sacks per game.
Senior LB Malik Reed (6-1/235)
Reed, a senior, earned All-MW honors for the third straight season and is Nevada’s first player to earn back-to-back first-team selections. He led the conference in tackles for loss and forced fumbles, and was tied for fourth in the league in sacks per game.
Senior FS Dameon Baber (5-10/205)
One of the best players on a talented Wolf Pack defense, Baber led the team with three interceptions and ranks in the top 10 at Nevada in career tackles.
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Nevada 16, Arkansas State 13 (OT)