Conference champion Spartans, Cardinals meet in Arizona Bowl

Ball State (6-1, Mid-American) vs. No. 19 San Jose State (7-0 Mountain West), Dec. 31, 2 p.m. EST

LOCATION: Tucson, Arizona

TOP PLAYERS

Ball State: Junior linebacker Brandon Martin was co-MAC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 12 tackles. Senior quarterback Drew Plitt has 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns, with six pickoffs.

San Jose State: Junior defensive lineman Cade Hall was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year after registering 10 sacks and a fumble recovery. Senior quarterback Nick Starkel has thrown for 1,906 yards and 16 touchdowns, with four interceptions.

NOTABLE

Ball State: The Cardinals won their first MAC championship since 1996, the year before the title game originated, by beating Buffalo 38-28. A six-game winning streak carried them to their first winning record since 2013.

San Jose State: The Spartans are one of the biggest stories in college football this year after making an unbeaten run to the Mountain West Conference championship. They were forced to play three straight games out of the state of California due to the coronavirus pandemic, including a 34-20 win over Boise State in the title game in Las Vegas.

LAST TIME

The teams have never met.

BOWL HISTORY

Ball State: The Cardinals are looking for their first bowl victory in school history after making eight previous postseason appearances. They’re in their first bowl game since 2013.

San Jose State: The Spartans are 4-0 in their last four bowl games dating to 1990, the most recent in 2015. Overall, they’re 7-3 in the postseason.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and twitter.com/ap_top25

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This story has been updated to correct the kickoff time and San Jose State’s overall bowl record.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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