Arizona Bowl bound
LARAMIE -- Wyoming's New Year's Eve party will be spent in the desert.
Sunday afternoon, it was announced that the Cowboys will play Georgia State of the Sun Belt Conference in the fifth-annual Arizona Bowl Dec. 31 in Tucson. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
The bowl game will take place at 50,782-seat Arizona Stadium, home of the Pac-12's Arizona Wildcats.
The Cowboys, who are playing in their third bowl game in the past four seasons, finished the 2019 regular season 7-5 overall and 4-4 in Mountain West Conference play.
Georgia State, which is located in Atlanta, also went 7-5 this season. The Panthers stunned the college football world with a 38-30 opening-week road win over Tennessee. Like the Cowboys, Georgia State lost three of its last four regular-season games.
This will be the school's third all-time bowl appearance. They beat Western Kentucky in the 2017 Cure Bowl, 27-17.
The Panthers average 32.4 points per game and boast a balanced offensive attack. Running back Tra Barnett leads the team with 1,389 yards rushing. He has scored 12 touchdowns. GSU averages 245 yards on the ground per contest. That's good enough for 14th overall in the nation.
Quarterback Dan Ellington, who surprisingly has been playing with a torn ACL since late November, has had a big year, tossing 21 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. The senior has recorded 2,291 passing yards.
Cornelius McCoy is the Panthers big play guy on the outside, snagging 65 passes for 679 yards. He has four touchdown catches.
Georgia State's defense is led by Trajan Stevens-McQueen. The Panthers linebacker has 97 tackles on the season to go along with a sack and two interceptions.
If this defense has a weakness, it's in its run defense. The Panther give up 211 yards per game. That's an average of 5.3 yards per rush.
Wyoming and Georgia State have never played. The Panther football program has only been in existence since 2010.
The Cowboys played Texas State of the Sun Belt Conference on Sept. 7. Wyoming won 23-14 in San Marcos. The Bobcats beat Georgia State 37-34 in triple overtime.
The Cowboys are 18-3 all time versus Sun Belt opponents.
Wyoming is 7-8 in bowl games. They are 3-8 in their last 11 trips to the postseason. The Pokes beat Central Michigan 37-17 at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl back in 2017.
Nevada and Arkansas State went into overtime in last season's Arizona Bowl. The Wolf Pack prevailed, 16-13. The Mountain West team has won three of the previous four games in Tucson. The lone loss came in 2017 when New Mexico State topped Utah State 26-20. That game also went to overtime.
The Cowboys haven't played a game in Tucson since 1993. That was a 52-17 loss to Kansas State in the Copper Bowl. Three years prior, Wyoming lost the same bowl game to California, 17-15.
Wyoming has won just four times in Tucson in its history. The last time came in 1976 when Fred Akers' Cowboys took down then-WAC rivals, Arizona, 26-24.
Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl, athletics director Tom Burman and a select player will be available to the media at 5 p.m. today.
Fast facts about Tuscon:
Laramie is a 15-hour, 14-minute drive from Tucson
A flight takes 1 hour and 53 minutes
An average round-trip flight is $276.25
The average temperature in December: 66 degrees
520,116 people live in the Tucson area
Tucson is just 60 miles from the Mexico border
Tucson is 108 miles from Phoenix
Tucson is in the Mountain Time Zone
You can only find Saguaro cactus in southern Arizona and northern Mexico
Bowl week schedule:
Downtown pep rally: Dec. 30 from 5-6:30 p.m. Jacome Plaza
Tailgate festival: Dec. 31 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. University of Arizona Mall
New Year's Eve Bowl Bash: Dec. 31-Jan. 1 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tucson's Time Square
All other bowl info right here