EL PASO, Texas – Time is a flat circle. In 2014, when No. 15 Arizona State came to the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the Sun Devils were riding high and capped off their 9-3 season with an exhilarating 36-31 win over Duke. In a game filled with offense, one Arizona State player shone brighter than any other.
Demario Richard, senior running back for Arizona State, was on that 2014 team as a freshman looking to make his mark. Richard earned the C. M. Hendricks MVP Award, annually given to the Sun Bowl’s most valuable player after scoring four touchdowns in the contest.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to start here my freshman season and then cap it off with the final game of my career,” Richard said. “It’s cool to have a chance to start and finish in the same place and I’m excited to play on national television.”
Richard and the Arizona State Sun Devils make their return to the Sun City to play in the 84th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl. The 2017 season for the Sun Devils (7-5, 6-3) saw several different offensive players find success as they had three different players with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
A 2017 Pac-12 Honorable Mention from Palmdale, California, Richard led the Sun Devils in rushing yards in 2017 with 977 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 185 attempts, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Not only did the senior establish himself as the workhorse in the backfield, but he was a valuable asset as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Richard averaged 9.3 yards per catch, totaling 65 yards on 7 catches. Combined, Richard amassed 1,042 all-purpose yards.
His freshman year, Richard had an impressive 478 rushing yards from scrimmage on a total of 84 attempts, good for an average of 5.7 rushing yards per attempt for the 2014 season. He had a total of four touchdowns on the entire year in that 2014 campaign, yet he matched that same total of four touchdowns during the Hyundai Sun Bowl, making that Sun Bowl performance all the more impressive.
“I’m going to try and go out and do it again and blow the game open,” Richard stated determinedly. “It’s about winning the game. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win this game.”
Four touchdowns by the same players had only happened three times in Sun Bowl history prior to Richard doing it in 2014. You’ll find that the company that Richard keeps is pretty impressive.
Sun Bowl Legend Thurman Thomas was the first to accomplish the feat during the 1987 Sun Bowl when Thomas and his Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers. Thomas was the lead running back on the legendary Buffalo Bills team that went to four straight Super Bowls during the early 1990s. Thomas was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007.
The next to achieve the lofty goal of four touchdowns in a single game was none other than Sun Bowl Legend Priest Holmes. Holmes led the University of Texas to a 35-31 victory over the University of North Carolina in the 1994 Sun Bowl. Holmes had one of the most impressive 10-year careers of any running back in the NFL.
The last player to score four touchdowns in a game is a much more recent name. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw and ran for two touchdowns apiece as he led the Bruins to a 42-12 romp over the Virginia Tech Hokies. Hundley started three games for the Green Bay Packers in 2017 in relief of the injured Aaron Rogers
“It’s an honor to be part of that list of names,” Richard stated.
Richard hopes to etch his name in the record books forever as one of the all-time Sun Bowl greats.
“It’s one last game with my brothers. We’re going to go all out,” Richard said. “I’m excited to play with these guys one last time. It’s my last day as a Sun Devil and I want to go out with a bang. It’s exciting to have a chance to play in just one more game.”
Richard is bookending his illustrious Sun Devil career by coming back to the Hyundai Sun Bowl as he hopes to lead his team to another Hyundai Sun Bowl victory. Arizona State kicks off against No. 24 NC State in the 84th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 29, 2017 at 1 p.m. (MT) at Sun Bowl Stadium.
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EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association and Hyundai of El Paso have announced that Las Cruces police officer turned country singer, Frank Ray, is scheduled to perform during halftime of the 2017 Hyundai Sun Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29 in El Paso, Texas.
Frank Ray, from Las Cruces, N.M. will perform at halftime of the match-up between Arizona State and NC State. He was recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine in an article titled “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: December 2017.”
“It’s great to have another regional up-and-coming star from the Borderland region,” said Executive Director of the Hyundai Sun Bowl Bernie Olivas. “Mr. Ray also has a great story as he was a police officer in Las Cruces, N.M.”
The Hyundai Sun Bowl is featuring a Borderland-halftime performer for the second year in a row after Elia Esparza and Khaliya Kimberlie performed in 2016. In 2014 Lone Star performed in front of more than 47,000 fans. The Andress High School Band, out of El Paso, teamed-up with the UCLA and Virginia Tech bands, to put on a show in 2013, as Three Dog Night performed at the 2013 Fan Fiesta.
Lee Bryce worked the crowd of about 48,000 fans in 2012 and the Sun Bowl Association is expecting at least that many fans to support Frank Ray this year. Other notable halftime performances include the Village People in 2008 and Rhianna in 2006.
Ray released his first solo EP Different Kind of Country earlier this year. A Hispanic-American, Ray sings about the Hispanic experience in the United States. The lead single from his EP “Every Time You Run” is currently 20th on the Texas Regional Radio Report.
“It’s an absolute honor to get to end the year in front of such a massive crowd. It gives me an opportunity to represent my community but also serves as a symbol of continued success for my team and my family," said Frank Ray. “I’m humbled to have been given the opportunity by the great representatives of the Sun Bowl.”
Ray plays shows from Albuquerque, N.M. to Austin, Texas. He has appeared in both El Paso and Las Cruces as well.
The 2017 Hyundai Sun Bowl game will be played Friday, Dec. 29, at 1 p.m. MT (3 p.m. ET) at Sun Bowl Stadium.
The 2017 game will mark the 84th anniversary of the Sun Bowl game and the 50th consecutive broadcast on CBS. This year’s game features No. 24 NC State out of the ACC and Arizona State from the Pac-12. Tickets are available by calling the Sun Bowl Association office at 915-533-4416.
Find out more about Ray through his social media outlets (below).
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EL PASO, Texas – A winner has been chosen for the “A’DOOR’N The Schools” Door Decorating Contest and a Kindergarten Class from Western Hills Elementary School has been chosen as the winner on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.
Due to an error in getting accurate votes tallied, the Sun Bowl Association had to vote on the doors to choose the winner. Members of the Sun Bowl Association staff, the Sun Bowl Association Board members and members of various Sun Bowl committees voted to choose the inaugural winner.
Students of the kindergarten class, which is taught by Ms. Delgado and Ms. Garcia, won tickets to the 84th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl and will also be provided a hot dog and beverage during the game.
“This is the first year we had the opportunity to do this and we are excited for the students from Western Hills Elementary to hang out and enjoy the game on Friday, Dec. 29,” said Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “We hit a little bump in the road when we began to verify votes so we decided to take another route.”
Mr. Olivas will be presenting the tickets to the class at Western Hills Elementary, Monday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m.
This year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl is set for a 1 p.m. (MT) kick-off at Sun Bowl Stadium on Friday, Dec. 29.
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EL PASO, Texas – Its productivity on both sides of the ball allowed NC State to become one of the most daunting opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Now, the 24th-ranked Wolfpack will look to conclude their successful 2017 campaign by controlling the tempo on defense and offense in the 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl, which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (MT) kick-off on Dec. 29 at Sun Bowl Stadium.
“When we lost the season opener, our season could have gone two ways. Our team chose to use it as motivation to work harder and get better,” said NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren.
NC State finished the regular season 8-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play. The Wolfpack will be making their fourth consecutive bowl appearance and their 31st in program history. It will also be NC State’s first appearance in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The Wolfpack defense is led by senior defensive end Bradley Chubb, who was named ACC defensive player of the year after tallying 73 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2017. Chubb also earned the Bronco Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player and the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end.
“Bradley has worked tirelessly to become the best defensive player in college football,” Doeren said. “His development from a 235 LB to a 275 DE has been incredible and is a tribute to his work ethic and our developmental program at NC State.”
The linebacker corps is led by senior Jerod Fernandez, who finished the regular season with a team-high 93 total tackles.
Chubb, Fernandez and a prolific secondary combined to help the NC State defense allow just 24.8 points per game and 377.2 yards per game.
The NC State offense is propelled by of one the nation’s most productive offensive lines, which helped first team All-ACC running back Nyheim Hines rush for a team-high 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. The Wolfpack offensive line, nicknamed the “Band of Brothers”, is led by Will Richardson, Tony Adams and Garrett Bradbury, who all earned All-ACC honors.
The “Band of Brothers” allowed an ACC-low 12 sacks and helped redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley pass for 3,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. Finley’s favorite target is 6-foot-3 sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, who amassed 993 receiving yards, 65 receptions and four touchdowns. Harmon earned second team All-ACC honors. Another target Finley prefers is first-team All-ACC selection, Jaylen Samuels who had 69 receptions and totaled 551 yards receiving while adding 384 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
On the offensive side, the Wolfpack finished the regular season as the fourth best in the ACC, scoring 30.6 points per game and tallying 449.3 yards per game.
Apart from the difficult task of an ACC schedule, the Wolfpack went 2-2 in non-conference play, including a tightly contested loss to Notre Dame, which was ranked ninth in the College Football Playoff rankings at the time. During conference play, NC State hosted Clemson, which is currently No. 1 in the CFP rankings, and the Wolfpack were a possession away from upending the defending national champions.
NC State will go into the Hyundai Sun Bowl with momentum after a dominant 33-21 performance against rival North Carolina in the final week of the regular season.
Last week, NC State agreed to a contract extension with current head coach Dave Doeren. The seventh-year head coach has been to six bowl games.
Tickets for the 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl can be purchased by calling 915-533-4416.
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EL PASO, Texas – The road to the 2017 Hyundai Sun Bowl meandered throughout different periods of the season for the Sun Devils, but in the end, Arizona State (7-5, 6-3 in Pac-12) found success and has made a bowl game for the sixth time in the last seven years and the 30th time in school history.
No stranger to the Sun City, the Arizona State Sun Devils return for the sixth time taking on the No. 24 NC State Wolfpack in the 84th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The last time Arizona State played in El Paso was in 2014, where it held off a comeback by the Duke Blue Devils, winning 36-31. In 2014, they were ranked No. 17 and finished the season with a record of 10-3 in Todd Graham’s third season at the helm of Arizona State football.
Toward the end of their 2017 season, the Sun Devils were able to rip off two wins in a row, including a victory over rival Arizona. The Sun Devils look to ride the momentum of their two game winning streak as they head into the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
“Being a proud native of the great state of Texas, the Sun Bowl and the people of El Paso are very important to me,” head football coach Todd Graham said. “We enjoyed the fine hospitality of the Sun Bowl three years ago and we look forward to making the trip once again.”
The pitchfork of the Sun Devil offense is spear-headed by redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins, senior running back Demario Richard, and sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Combined, the three players alone have accounted for just over 5,000 yards of offense.
Quarterback Manny Wilkins comes into the contest ranked 28th in the nation in passing yards with 2,918 on the year, averaging 243 passing yards per game. All-American candidate wide receiver N’Keal Harry comes to El Paso tied for 19th in the nation with 73 receptions and 24th in the nation with exactly 1,000 yards receiving.
Most interestingly, senior running back Demario Richard returns to El Paso with his eyes set on not only getting the win over NC State, but also earning the C. M. Hendricks Award, annually given out to the Sun Bowl offensive MVP, an award that Richard earned in 2014. In that game, Richard had 63 yards on seven rushes and five catches and chalked up four touchdowns, tying a Sun Bowl record held by Sun Bowl MVPs Thurman Thomas, Priest Holmes, and Brett Hundley. Richard finished his 2017 regular season campaign racking up 977 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, good for 30th in the nation.
The Sun Devils prove to be great on both offense and defense as being one of the only teams in the nation that scored 20-or-more points in 10 of their 12 contests while having a linebacker that is third in the nation in solo tackles.
“I’m very proud of all three phases of our football team this year,” Graham stated. “I’m very proud of our players as they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do.”
The Arizona State defense, led by redshirt junior linebacker Christian Sam and redshirt freshman cornerback Chase Lucas, have helped the Sun Devils be ranked 17th in the nation in sacks.
Sam, the All-American candidate and focal point of the Sun Devil defense, boasts some gaudy defensive numbers. The linebacker ranks third in Power-5 Conferences in total tackles with 127 and ranks third in the nation in solo tackles with 87 while averaging 10.6 tackles per game, good for first in the Pac-12.
Lucas, a redshirt freshman, is a lockdown cornerback for the Arizona State secondary, ranking second in the nation amongst freshman cornerbacks with a 51.3 completion percentage allowed. Lucas is a Freshman All-American candidate.
The best win for the Sun Devils was a defensive grudge match 13-7 victory over then undefeated No. 5 Washington. Sam led the way with 11 tackles, eight solo tackles and helped hold the Washington run game to just 91 yards. Through the air, Lucas helped hold the Washington passing offense to just 139 yards.
The Arizona State Sun Devils face off against No. 24 NC State, Friday, Dec. 29 with kick-off slated for 1 p.m. (MT).
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