Day One at the GoDaddy Bowl

They played nice Wednesday night, the first night of activities for the 16th annual GoDaddy Bowl, which will be played Sunday in Mobile.

Arkansas State interim coach John Thompson and Ball State coach Pete Lembo traded handshakes and compliments and all played the political game with local dignitaries.

"Our players are looking forward to all the events leading up to the game, but more than anything we are looking forward to being at our best on Sunday night," said Thompson. "Ball State is a very impressive team that has shown a lot of class and is well coached. It is going to be a great challenge for our team and we're looking forward to a great game and a great crowd."

Both Arkansas State (7-5) and Ball State (10-2) have been here before. The Red Wolves are making their third straight appearance while Ball State is back for the first time since 2008. That 2008 team finished 12-2. The Cardinals did play in the Beef O'Brady Bowl last year and lost to Central Florida 38-17.

"It is great to be back in Mobile,'' said Lembo. "I was able to come down a few weeks ago and get an introduction and it was everything that we were hoping. We got in last night (Tuesday) and it was nice for our kids to have a little bit of time to get settle back in and the transition back to the practice field. We are looking forward to a combination of game preparation and enjoying the events over the next few days leading up to the game.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for our opponent. They have been here before and they have won this game before. Coach Thompson has won this game before so we know we are going to have a big challenge. They will be bringing a big group of fans with them and they know the lay of the land here. So hopefully we will get used to our surroundings over the next few days.

"I will share with you what I told coach Thompson when I first met him a few minutes ago. As you watch video on some teams you start feeling better and better as you go on and watch more and more as a coach. And sometimes you get a little more nervous as you watch certain players make plays and you watch coaches put them in position to make plays and you know you know are going to have a huge challenge on your hands with the athletes they have on the field."

UP TODAY: Godfather's Pizza Players Hospital visit. Players and coaches from both teams will visit the young patients at USA's Children and Women's Hospital.

--Eastern Shore Lanes Player Bowling Challenge. The teams compete in GoDaddy Bowl Bowling championship.

PRACTICE: The Red Wolves will practice at 11 a.m. at the University of South Alabama practice field. Ball State is scheduled to work out from 1:35 to 3:50 at UMS-Wright Prep School.