ORLANDO, Fla. (12/15/16) – The Arkansas State football team continued preparations for the AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital and also participated in a couple of bowl functions Thursday in Orlando, Fla.

The day for the Red Wolves began with a padded practice session at The First Academy that wrapped up around 11 a.m. (ET). This represented the team’s final practice before Saturday’s matchup with UCF with only a walk-through at Camping World Stadium scheduled on Friday.

The Cure Bowl press conference started at noon with A-State head coach Blake Anderson, Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir, and A-State student-athletes Chris Odom, Warren Wand and Jake Swalley all in attendance as well as representatives from the Knights.

“I appreciate all the people that put this thing together,” Anderson said. “Everything’s been first class and the kids are having a blast. It’s been a long road to get here and we struggled to get to this point to be able to win a conference championship and become bowl eligible. I’m proud of how this team has come together and we are here enjoying everything being offered to us, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for a very good opponent. At the end of the day we want to be ready come Saturday when the ball is kicked off to play a great game.”

Swalley was given the Community Service Award after being involved in several community service projects such as Autism Walks, Special Olympics, and high school initiatives. The Overland Park, Kan., native is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded for academics, football performance and strong leadership and citizenship. Additionally, he’s racked up a number of academic honors and has 20 tackles this season with four coming behind the line of scrimmage.

“Coach Anderson always has us prepared on and off the field,” Swalley stated. “As far as getting game ready it’s just like any other week. We are taking practice seriously and Coach Anderson is on top of us about doing the right thing this week. It’s just like any other road game for us because it’s like a home game for UCF.”

The team then had all afternoon to attend Universal Studios and enjoy the theme parks before reporting back to the hotel early in the evening to get rested up for a number of scheduled events tomorrow.

A-State’s schedule tomorrow starts with a walk-through and team picture at Camping World Stadium in the morning before a couple of charity events that include Feed the Children and a hospital visit for selected players. There will also be a pep rally tomorrow at 5 p.m. (ET) as the team makes its final preparations for Saturday’s Cure Bowl.

The Cure Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. (CT) in a CBS Sports Network-televised game. A-State will be making its first appearance in the Cure Bowl, which played its inaugural game last year, and competing in its 14th all-time bowl game.