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



Camellia Bowl Notebook

Posted December 23, 2023

By Barry Allen

The Game:

  • Final Score: Northern Illinois 21, Arkansas State 19
  • Weather: Sunny skies; 62 degrees; calm wind
  • Coin Toss: Arkansas State won the toss and deferred to second half

General Notes:

  • Northern Illinois defeated Arkansas State 21-19 in the 10th annual Camellia Bowl
  • Nine of the 10 Camellia Bowls have been one-score games

  • Northern Illinois made its first appearance in the Camellia Bowl
  • The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has won the last two Camellia Bowls
  • Buffalo defeated Georgia Southern last year
  • The MAC has won three of the last four Camellia Bowl games
  • MAC teams are now 4-4 in eight Camellia Bowl appearances

  • Arkansas State is 1-2 in its three Camellia Bowl appearances
  • The Red Wolves lost to Middle Tennessee (2017) and defeated FIU (2019)
  • Sun Belt teams are now 4-5 in nine Camellia Bowl appearances

  • Northern Illinois QB Rocky Lombardi was named the Bart Starr MVP
  • Lombardi accounted for 221 yards and two TDs in the win
  • He completed 18-of-29 passes for 200 yards and one TD
  • He also added 21 rushing yards, including a 6-yard TD run
  • Lombardi complete a pass to nine different receivers
  • Lombardi is the fifth QB to win the Bart Starr MVP award

  • NIU had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the win over ASU
  • RB Antario Brown had 25 carries for 132 yards for the Huskies
  • The 25 carries are the third-most in Camellia Bowl history
  • The 132 rushing yards are the fourth-most in bowl history
  • WR Grayson Barnes caught five passes for 105 yards
  • The nine catches tie for the fourth most in the Camellia Bowl
  • Barnes recorded the 12th 100-yard receiving game in Camellia Bowl history

  • Northern Illinois and Arkansas State played the highest scoring first half in Camellia Bowl history
  • The Huskies (21) and Red Wolves (13) combined for 34 first-half points
  • The first half also featured three turnovers (2 by NIU; 1 ASU) and one missed FG (NIU)
  • There was only one punt (NIU) in the first half
  • Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State held the previous record with 31 combined points in 2017

  • Northern Illinois set the Camellia Bowl record with 40:25 time of possession
  • The Huskies held the ball for 8+ minutes in all four quarters
  • NIU had the ball for 12:02 in the first quarter and 10:29 in the third quarter


  • Northern Illinois became the first team in Cameliia Bowl history to score on the game’s opening drive
  • NIU took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards (10 plays) in 5:51 to take a 7-0 lead
  • NIU QB Rocky Lombardi capped the drive with an 18-yard TD pass to Grayson Barnes
  • Lombardi was 5-of-6 (.833) for 79 yards and one TD on the drive
  • Barnes caught three passes for 65 yards and one TD on the opening possession

  • Northern Illinois scored the second special teams TD in Camellia Bowl history
  • The Huskies executed fake field goal on fourth and four from the ASU 32-yard line
  • Junior holder Tom Foley flipped the ball to sophomore kicker Kanon Woodill, who raced 32 yards untouched for the TD
  • It was NIU’s first fake FG for the TD since 2012
  • Appalachian State had the only other special teams TD in Camellia Bowl history
  • Darrynton Evans had a 94-yard kickoff return TD for the Mountaineers in 2016

  • Arkansas State QB Jaylen Raynor accounted for 299 yards and two TDs
  • He completed 16-of-30 passes for 260 yards with two TDs and one interception
  • He was also the team’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 49 yards

  • Arkansas State WR Corey Rucker was the leading receiver
  • Rucker caught five passes for 105 yards and 2 TDs
  • The 2 TDs tied the Camellia Bowl record held by four other players