December 14, 2024 | The Historic Cramton Bowl

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December 14, 2024

9:00 pm ET/8:00 pm CT on ESPN

Montgomery, Alabama

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF

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SECS

A-State, NIU Arrive for 10th Annual Camellia Bowl

Posted December 19, 2023

MONTGOMERY – Camellia Bowl week is underway in the Capital City.

Arkansas State and Northern Illinois both arrived in town to being preparation for the 10th annual Camellia Bowl, which will be played Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 a.m. at the historic Cramton Bowl.

Arkansas State is making its third appearance at the Camellia Bowl, the most of any team. The Red Wolves are 1-1 in the previous two trips to Montgomery, losing to Middle Tennessee in 2016 and beating FIU in 2018. With a win over NIU on Saturday, ASU will join Appalachian State and Buffalo as the only repeat champions.

“It is very, very special to us because we’re the third youngest team in all of college football,” Arkansas State head coach Butch Jones said. “We only have 11 seniors on our roster and about 99 percent of our team has never been to a bowl game or experienced a bowl experience.

“So, you talk about a first impression, a great first impression, so I’m very thankful to everyone in Montgomery. Alabama is a very, very special place to me and my family so we are looking forward to a great week.”

Northern Illinois is making its first ever trip to the Camellia Bowl. The Huskies are the 15th different team to play in the event.

“For Northern Illinois, we are certainly excited to be here,” head coach Thomas Hammock said. “You know, for us, it’s been a grind the last seven weeks of the season, getting ourselves to be bowl eligible.

“We had a hiccup at midseason but for us — and I can relate to Coach Jones — we had a young team a couple of years ago that went through some growing pains and now they’re all mature. So, when we have a little hiccup at midseason, the culture of our program was understood. They understand adversity, how to deal with adversity, how to respond the right way. I certainly couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity.”

Both teams will hold three practices while in Montgomery.  Arkansas State will practice at Huntingdon College, while NIU will practice at Alabama State.

The teams will tour The Legacy Museum on their visit to Montgomery.  Both teams will have a Bowling Pizza Party and BBQ Dinner and Karaoke.

The 2023 Alabama Football Legend Luncheon will be held on Friday, Dec. 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Hotel. Dr. James Andrews is this year’s honoree.