EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The sun will scoot its way to high noon on the final day of 2019 and foot will meet ball. For the 86th time, there will be some exciting college football played in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.
Arizona State brings a 7-5 record into the second-oldest bowl game in the country and Florida State comes in at 6-6.
A football season can pivot on a play or two – a mistake here or a special play there – and each of these teams were a play or two away from putting something special together in 2019.
CBS is televising this game for the 52nd year and it should be a fun, high-scoring affair for the national audience. Florida State averaged 29.1 points per game and Arizona State put up 25.2 points per game.
Teams reflect the persona of their coach and each of these teams has an interesting persona in the driver’s seat.
Arizona State is led by Herm Edwards, the colorful, dynamic, energy-overloaded former NFL player and coach. Edwards, a beacon for anything positive, is an outstanding speaker and motivator.
The 65-year-old Edwards is in his second season as the Sun Devils head coach and has already put his imprint on the program with 14 wins. Edwards brought quite a resume to the desert southwest, playing 10 years in the NFL and serving as head coach for both the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.
Edwards left his footprint forever in the NFL landscape with one of the league’s most iconic and memorable plays – the Miracle at the Meadowlands. Edwards, a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, scooped up a final second fumble by New York Giant quarterback Joe Pisarcik, returned it for a touchdown, snatching victory from certain defeat.
Edwards is also well known for his nine-year tenure as an entertaining analyst for ESPN.
Florida State’s Odell Haggins may be only an interim head coach but, in many ways, he casts a giant footprint for Florida State football. He was an outstanding interior lineman for the Seminoles and, after three years in the NFL, returned to the Seminole coaching staff.
Haggins, the associate head coach and defensive line coach, will return next season for his 27th season at Florida State, making him the longest tenured assistant coach in the nation.
Arizona State is led by highly touted freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels. The 6-foot-3, four-star recruit out of California completed 193-of-310 passes for 2,748 yards and 17 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
“It was important not to put too much on his plate” said Edwards. “He’s got some special traits. He missed the USC game (with an injury) so it was good for him to come in and go 7-4 as a freshman.”
Daniels led the Sun Devils to a road victory at Michigan State and then erased Oregon’s national title hopes with a clutch fourth quarter drive.
The Seminoles are led defensively by a pair of large and talented defensive tackles. Marvin Wilson, an All-ACC defensive tackle and a Bednarik Award semifinalist is 6-5 and 311-pounds. All-ACC counterpart Demarcus Christmas is 6-4 and 302-pounds.
Florida State had a bit of a roller coaster ride and the result was Haggins taking over the interim head coaching duties for the final four games. The Seminoles had a trio of “what if” losses to three good football teams – falling 36-31 to Boise State, 31-24 to Virginia and 22-20 to Wake Forest.
“We stayed together as a family at the end,” said Haggins. “The kids fought together. The coaches stayed together. We are Florida State. We have a great brand. We can do this together, but we can’t do this by ourselves.”
Arizona State will come into the game as a 4.5-point favorite over Florida State. The Sun Bowl Association is expecting a near sellout crowd on Tuesday afternoon.