The NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl is in its third year and the Tucson community has been extremely supportive in bringing a bowl game back to the Old Pueblo.
The NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl was sanctioned in March 2015 as the 41st NCAA college football game and the third bowl game staged in Arizona. Kicking off in December 2015, the NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl will be the first-ever bowl game to have a digitally-focused broadcast strategy as orchestrated by primary media partner, Campus Insiders. The NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl is dedicated to promoting community engagement and support in the Tucson area.
In a tough fought game that delighted fans of both teams at various times, the Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy played a spectacular game after a rocky start to defeat the Jaguars of the University of South Alabama 45-21 in the second annual NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The Jaguars came out strong scoring a touchdown on the first play of the game and led the Falcons 21-3 early in the second quarter. The Falcons flew back and evened up the game at 21 a piece by halftime before coming out to score a touchdown in the first play of the second half. Air Force would ride the ground game all the way to the trophy from there.
After a week worth of fun and festivities, the football game turned out to be the pinnacle it deserved to be. South Alabama showed it deserved its spot in the postseason, and Air Force lived up to the reputation it has earned as fighters until the final whistle. Post-game honors were handed to Air Force running back Arion Worthman who collected 99 yards rushing, and Falcons All-American Safety Weston Steelhammer who cemented the win with a diving interception. Air Force finishes the season with a 10-3 mark, while the upstart Jaguars will head back to Mobile at 6-7.
Nearly 34,000 fans attended the Bowl which included a pre-game tailgate featuring Arizona’s own Gin Blossoms and a Nacho Average Tailgate party showcasing 30 gourmet nacho purveyors from Southern Arizona among other fun activities for fans and families. And in a unique tribute to heroes from Southern Arizona, the Bowl handed out more than 12,000 sponsored tickets to active military members, first responders, police, firemen, teachers and others to ensure that they had an opportunity to attend and enjoy the game. All tickets provided through the Heroes Tribute Program were sponsored by local companies and individuals.
The 2015 inaugural NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl was owned and operated by the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission (ASEC) which successfully organized and executed an incredible bowl experience in a very short time period. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the Bowl in Tucson, in early 2016, ASEC recommended that the bowl ownership be transitioned to a local Tucson organization, owned and managed by local community leaders. As a result, TD4Tucson was established as a 501c3 to retain the licensing of the NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Due to their integral involvement in providing first class Bowl experience, ASEC has been retained to provide on-going consultation and direct game day operations. Ali Farhang, Chairperson of TD4Tucson, stated, “I am so grateful for the leadership and fortitude that ASEC demonstrated by bringing a Bowl game to Tucson. Their experience and guidance was instrumental to executing a 5-star event under extremely challenging circumstances. I am pleased that the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl and our local community will continue to be the benefactor of their knowledge and leadership. The transition of ownership to TD4Tucson and continued partnership with ASEC is a tremendous win for Southern Arizona.”