Arizona Bowl

Arizona Bowl lands intriguing matchup of Boise State and Central Michigan


Boise State’s fans missed out of a bowl game last year because of COVID-19 protocols so expect that crazed fan base to be eager to come to Tucson this month.

The Broncos (7-5) are bowl eligible for the 24th straight time and Arizona Stadium is their destination for the Arizona Bowl.

Andy Avalos’ team will play for the first time in Tucson, a new experience for the Broncos’ fans to try, when they play Central Michigan (8-4) on Dec. 31 at noon.

Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke served as the AD at Central Michigan from 2006 to 2017 after spending 18 years at Oregon. He came to Tucson from Central Michigan.

The matchup marks the first game between the programs since 2001. Boise State and Central Michigan have met five times, with the Chippewas edging the Broncos 3-2 in the series.

However, the Broncos have won each of the last two meetings, defeating the Chippewas in 2000 (47-10) and 2001 (26-10). Boise State and Central Michigan have also previously met in the postseason, with the Chippewas earning a 20-6 victory in the 1974 NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.

Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain, a former Colorado State and Florida coach, became familiar with Boise State in the Mountain West Conference when he led the Rams’ program from 2012 to 2014. His record was 0-3 against Boise State.

The Chippewas feature running back Lew Nicholls III, who leads the nation with 1,751 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns.

Quarterback Daniel Richardson has thrown for 2,424 yards and 23 touchdowns, and he has three receivers as his main targets. Kalil Pimpleton leads the team with 58 catches for 929 yards. JaCorey Sullivan has 42 catches for 604 yards and a team-high 10 touchdown catches. Dallas Dixon (a Tolleson High School alum) has 44 receptions for 696 yards and eight touchdowns.

Boise State opened the season with a losing record (3-4) through seven games for the first time since 1997. But the Broncos won four straight games before ending the regular season with a loss at San Diego State.

The Broncos’ resume is impressive.

Five of their wins were against teams that are bowl eligible, and its five losses were against bowl-eligible teams — Central Florida, Oklahoma State, Nevada, Air Force and San Diego State. The Broncos beat two ranked opponents: BYU, which was ranked No. 10 at the time, and Fresno State, which was ranked No. 25.

Boise State also beat Mountain West champion Utah State, 27-3, on the road, and nearly beat Oklahoma State at home, losing 21-20.

The Arizona Bowl will be streamed exclusively from Barstool Sports’ website.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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