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



Arkansas State-Northern Illinois Meet in 10th Annual Camellia Bowl

Posted December 3, 2023

MONTGOMERY – The matchup is set for the 10th annual Camellia Bowl. The Arkansas State Red Wolves and Northern Illinois Huskies will meet on Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 a.m. CT (Noon ET) at the historic Cramton Bowl in downtown Montgomery. The game will be televised on ESPN, and simulcast on ESPN+.

Arkansas State (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt) scored a Sun Belt Conference record 77 points in a win over Texas State on Nov. 18. The Red Wolves scored seven rushing touchdowns, three defensive touchdowns and added one kickoff return for the touchdown in the win. The 77 points were the third-most points scored by an FBS team in 2023. Overall, ASU topped the 30-point mark five times this season.

Head coach Butch Jones is in his third season with the Red Wolves. He has compiled a 92-70 record in 12 seasons at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Arkansas State. Prior to taking the job at ASU, Jones spent three seasons on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as an Offensive Analyst (2018-19) and Special Assistant to the Head Coach (2020).

Northern Illinois (6-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) brings the FBS’ sixth-ranked passing defense (163.9 pass yards per game) to Montgomery and the 11th best in pass efficiency defense (114.4). NIU opened the season with a 27-24 overtime win at Boston College. It was their second straight year with a win over an ACC team. NIU opened the 2022 season with a 22-21 win at Georgia Tech.

Head coach Thomas Hammock has compiled a 23-33 record in five seasons at his alma mater. He guided the Huskies to a 9-5 record and a berth in the 2021 MAC Championship Game. Hammock played tailback for the Huskies from 1999-2002. He was the school’s running backs coach in 2005-06. He has also been an assistant coach at Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens.

Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton and Northern Illinois Vice President/Athletics Director and Recreation Shawn T. Frazier both have ties to Alabama. Purinton spent 15 years at the UA Athletic Administration, including the school’s Deputy Athletics Director from 2019-21. Frazier played football for the Crimson Tide from 1987-91 and was a member of the 1989 SEC Championship team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from UA.

Arkansas State will be playing in its 18th all-time bowl game, dating back to its inaugural bowl appearance in the 1951 Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind. ASU is 8-9 all-time in post season bowl games. The Red Wolves are making their third appearance at the Camellia Bowl, splitting the previous two games. Middle Tennessee defeated Arkansas State 35-30 in the 2017 Camellia Bowl. Arkansas State defeated Florida International 34-26 in the 2019 Camellia Bowl. Arkansas State also played in four straight GoDaddy Bowls in Mobile from 2012-15.

Northern Illinois is making its 15th all-time bowl appearance, dating back to its 20-0 win over Cal State Fullerton in the 1983 California Bowl. NIU cracked the BCS rankings and faced Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl, falling to the Seminoles 31-10. NIU is 4-10 all-time in bowl play.

Northern Illinois posted a 19-16 win over No. 21 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 20, 2003. Michel Turner, who played with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL, ran the ball 21 times for 157 yards to lead the upset over the Crimson Tide.

The 2023 Camellia Bowl will mark the second time Arkansas State and Northern Illinois have met in a bowl game. NIU defeated ASU 38-20 in the 2012 GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile. The Huskies erased a 13-0 deficit to post the 18-point comeback win. NIU wide receiver Martel Moore caught eight passes for 224 yards and one TD. Dechan Durante capped the scoring with a 36-yard “Pick 6” for the Huskies. ASU quarterback Ryan Alpin completed 30-of-58 passes for 353 yards and one TD. His favorite target was Taylor Stockemer, who set ASU bowl records with 11 catches for 185 yards and one TD.


Date                 Result                                                   Attendance       TV

Dec. 20, 2014     Bowling Green 33, South Alabama 28       20,256              ESPN

Dec. 19, 2015     Appalachian State 31, Ohio 29                 21,395              ESPN

Dec. 17, 2016     Appalachian State 31, Toledo 28               20,300              ESPN

Dec. 16, 2017     Middle Tennessee 35, Arkansas St. 30       20,612              ESPN

Dec. 15, 2018     Georgia Southern 23, E. Michigan 21        17,710              ESPN

Dec. 21, 2019     Arkansas St. 34, FIU 26                            16,209              ESPN

Dec. 25, 2020     Buffalo 17, Marshall 10                           2,512 (Covid)     ESPN

Dec. 25, 2021     Georgia State 51, Ball State 20                 7,345                ESPN

Dec. 27, 2022     Buffalo 23, Georgia Southern 21               15,232              ESPN

The Camellia Bowl is one of 17 college football bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.

ESPN Events 

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of collegiate sporting events nationwide. In 2023, the 33-event schedule includes four early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, nine college basketball events, a college softball event and the inaugural Band of the Year National Championship, in addition to a new college gymnastics event coming in 2024. Collectively, these events account for over 400 hours of live programming on ESPN platforms, while reaching 60 million viewers and attracting more than 650,000 annual attendees. Each year, the portfolio of events features more than 20 Division I conferences and hosts over 4,000 participating student-athletes. With satellite offices in more than 10 cities across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

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