By the time the last firework went off in Arizona Stadium – nearly four hours after the start of the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl – most of the Wyoming Cowboys players were in their locker room … celebrating.
Fireworks were the fashion for the Cowboys, who defeated Georgia State, 38-17, in the fifth installment of the Arizona Bowl.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better game,” said Jon Volpe, president of Nova Home Loans, as he whisked past Ali Farhang at the end of the awards ceremony.
Good game. Good crowd. Good future.
That’s all anyone can ask for.
“It’s a great day for Southern Arizona and the community,” said Farhang, founder and chairman of the bowl game. “It’s the party day of the year. We threw one party at the football field and we’re going throw another one downtown.”
yeah us too. enjoy 🍿 pic.twitter.com/FjmG7uAQkk
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) January 1, 2020
The calm may outweigh the storm – or something like that. But after last year’s seemingly freezeout when Nevada faced Arkansas State, karma helped the Arizona Bowl announce that 36,000-plus showed up to see the Cowboys struggle then dominate their southern opponents.
“It was a Visit Tucson, Chamber of Commerce day for Tucson,” Farhang said, referring to the weather and atmosphere. “It shows really well on TV. The crowd showed well. It says a lot about our community.”
Bowl officials can thank Wyoming fans who made it a desert of yellow in Arizona Stadium. At least it seemed that way on the east side of the stadium, where the lower bowl was full of excited fans.
The best moment for Farhang may not have happened in the stadium, he said. Not on the awards ceremony or in the stands or in the press box as he cracked wise with the reporters. It was hours before the kickoff, where he saw thousands of fans enjoying themselves at the tailgate where an estimated 10,000 fans showed up.
“It was a sea of yellow and I couldn’t walk anywhere,” he said. “It’s what it’s all about. A community that celebrates together thrives together.”
— Arizona Bowl (@novaAZBOWL) January 1, 2020
He wants to make sure Tucson knows “it owns this game.”
“it’s much more than just TV programing,” Farhang said.
Weather played a factor, given at kickoff it was about 60 degrees (seemingly an April day in Wyoming). Football was a factor, given each team contributed to an exciting first two quarters to make it interesting.
“Kudos to Georgia State,” said Kym Adair, the game’s executive director. “They were as tough as they could be. Wyoming was too much to handle.”
If it’s a preview of what’s to come the game will be a nice future for the little bowl that could.
It’ll help for next year when the Mid-American Conference comes in to face the Mountain West.
— Arizona Bowl (@novaAZBOWL) December 31, 2019
“We’re excited about that relationship,” Farhang said. “The sky is the limit.”
It helps with games like Tuesday’s.
“We’ve got big plans for next year,” Adair said.