MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Arkansas State University and Florida International University have been selected to play in the sixth annual Camellia Bowl at the historic Cramton Bowl. The 2019 Camellia Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 4:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPN.
“We are excited to bring Arkansas State and Florida International to Montgomery for this year’s Camellia Bowl,” said Johnny Williams, executive director of the Camellia Bowl. “We have had some tremendous matchups in the past. We welcome Arkansas State back to Montgomery, and FIU for the first time. We look forward to another exciting game.”
Arkansas State (7-5, 5-3 Sun Belt) is one of five bowl eligible teams for the Sun Belt Conference. ASU finished second in the Western Division behind Louisiana. The Red Wolves had the third-best overall record in the league, along with Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Arkansas State has one of the most prolific passing offenses in the nation. ASU leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks in the top 20 nationally in completion percentage and passing efficiency. ASU quarterback Layne Hatcher leads the Sun Belt Conference in completions percentage (.683), passing efficiency (173.5) and yards per completion (14.2).
Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson has compiled a 46-30 (.605) record in six seasons as head coach. Under Anderson, ASU has had six straight winning seasons and made six straight bowl appearances.
Arkansas State is making its ninth straight bowl appearance and second Camellia Bowl appearance. ASU ties fellow Sun Belt Conference member Appalachian State for the most Camellia Bowl appearances. Middle Tennessee defeated Arkansas State 35-30 in the 2017 Camellia Bowl. Overall, ASU is making its 10th all-time bowl appearance. Six of the 10 bowl appearances have been played in the state of Alabama.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to play in a bowl game for the ninth straight year,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “The Camellia Bowl offers a great experience for our players and the hospitality shown by Montgomery is fantastic. We’re looking forward to getting back on the field for another game with the opportunity to finish our season strong.”
Florida International (6-6, 3-5 Conference USA) is one of eight bowl eligible teams from Conference USA. The Golden Panthers led C-USA (3rd FBS) in punt returns this season. FIU averaged 20.8 yards per return this season. Dimitry Prophete and Maurice Alexander both have punt return TDs this season.
FIU head coach Butch Davis has compiled a 23-15 (.605) record in three seasons with the Golden Panthers. Davis has posted a 160-102 (.638) record in 13 seasons at Miami, North Carolina and FIU. Davis will be coaching in his 10th bowl game in 13 seasons as head coach.
Florida International is making its third straight bowl appearance and fifth in program history. FIU defeated Toledo 35-32 in the 2018 Bahamas Bowl.
“We’re thrilled for our team to play in the Camellia Bowl – which is a school-record third straight bowl game – and get the chance for our team to cap the season on a high note,” FIU head coach Butch Davis said. “Arkansas State has a great football program and are led by a coach that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”
Tickets to the sixth annual Camellia Bowl are on sale at www.espnevents.com/camellia-bowl/tickets. Tickets are $30 for reserved seating.
The five previous Camellia Bowl games have been decided by 17 total points. There have been three game-winning field goals and one TD in the fourth quarter. There have been two walk-off wins in the five-year history. Appalachian State kicker Zach Matics drilled a walk-off FG in the 31-28 win over Ohio in 2016. Georgia Southern kicker Tyler Bass hit a 40-yard FG as time expired to beat Eastern Michigan 23-21 in 2018.
CAMELLIA BOWL ALL-TIME RESULTS:
Bowling Green 33, South Alabama 28 (Dec. 20, 2014)
Appalachian State 31, Ohio 29 (Dec. 19, 2015)
Appalachian State 31, Toledo 28 (Dec. 17, 2016)
Middle Tennessee 35, Arkansas State 30 (Dec. 16, 2017)
Georgia Southern 23, Eastern Michigan 21 (Dec. 15, 2018)
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 34 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 16 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.