Snow College Athletics Media Relations
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The 2023 Game One Bowl game has been set and will feature the #11 Iowa Central Tritons (6-4, 1-1) vs. #5 Snow (Utah) College Badgers (9-2) on Sunday, December 3 at UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.
The two teams will face each other on the University of Northern Iowa campus for the first time since the spring of 2021 and only the third time in history. Snow won the previous two meetings, taking the game in 2021, 48-18, and also earned a victory in 2019, 30-20.
Snow are making their second appearance in the Game One Bowl after attending in 2018. The Badgers fell just short of Iowa Western in a battle of top 10 teams, 19-17. The Reivers won with a game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Tritons will be playing in their sixth straight bowl game dating back to 2018. They have won their previous five Game One Bowls, the most recent a 31-24 victory over Trinity Valley (Texas) last season.
Iowa Central saw peaks and troughs in the 2023 season, but found its way to a 6-4 record and another bowl berth. The Tritons jumped out to a 5-1 record with their only loss coming at No. 1 Hutchinson. Ranked No. 3 in the country midway through the season, Iowa Central went on a three-game losing streak that dropped them to No. 15 in the country. In the final week, the Tritons defeated Highland (Kan.) 41-13 and climbed back up to No. 11, where they remain in the final NJCAA poll.
The Tritons were led by their passing attack, which ranked 10thth in the country in yards per play at 238.9. Iowa Central’s top wideout had one of the best seasons in the NJCAA at any position. 2023 ICCAC Offensive Player of the Year Mario Sanders currently leads the nation in receptions (70) and touchdowns (12), while ranking in the top three in receiving yards (926) and yards per game (92.6).
Defensively, the Tritons were 11th in the nation in defensive tackles for home runs with 11 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries — along with 31 sacks, also 11th in the state.
On the other side of the field, the No. 5 ranked Snow Badgers are a playoff caliber football team. At 9-2, Snow was the oddball team in the four-team conversation after the final poll. The Badgers have reached the playoffs twice since starting in the spring of 2021, most recently in the fall session of the 2021 season.
Their only losses this season came in Week 1 on the road at Trinity Valley — and in Council Bluffs against the No. 2-ranked Reivers.
In 2023, Snow produced a top-10 offense during the regular season, averaging 35 points per game and nearly 400 yards of offense. Quarterback Donovan Smith ranks second in the nation in rushing and has the second most yards with 2,477 along with 25 touchdowns.
Smith’s main goals are Jared Wilson, Ayo Shotomide-King and Amir McGruder. All have 425 yards or more — and Wilson has hauled in nine TDs.
Running backs Spencer Lambert and AJ Tillman share the load in the running game. Both have amassed over 500 yards on the ground this season. Lambert leads the team in rushing yards with 640, while Tillman gets the Badgers into the end zone. He has 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, Snow is also in the top 10 as a team. They allow just 269 yards of offense and have 25 points to take home.
Historically, Iowa Central is 18-9 in Game One Bowls. The Tritons have won each of their last 12 outings. As mentioned, Snow is 0-1 in Iowa’s oldest bowl game.
The 2023 One Bowl will be the 45thth edition of the event, with its first game played in 1978.
The game starts at 1 p.m. Doors open to the public at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
For more information on Game One Bowl 2023, visit www.gameonebowl.com.