WSU

WSU Cougars headed to Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 vs Miami

Dec 5, 2021, 12:57 PM | Updated: 5:59 pm
WSU Apple Cup...
WSU DB Derrick Langford celebrates with teammates after his interception in the Apple Cup on Nov. 26. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

For the third time in program history, the WSU Cougars are headed to the Sun Bowl. And for the second straight time, they’ll meet the Miami Hurricanes when they get to El Paso, Texas.

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Washington State confirmed that it has accepted an invitation to the Sun Bowl just minutes after Brett McMurphy of the Action Network first shared a report on the news Sunday afternoon. The game will be played at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 31 and will be carried live on 710 ESPN Seattle beginning with the pregame show at 7 a.m.

The Cougars and Hurricanes met before in the 2015 Sun Bowl, with WSU winning 20-14. Washington State also beat Purdue in the 2001 Sun Bowl.

WSU heads into the Sun Bowl with a 7-5 overall record this season. The game will be the Cougars’ first since naming Jake Dickert their full-time head football coach. Dickert had been the team’s acting head coach for the past five games following previous head coach Nick Rolovich’s firing for not adhering to a Washington state mandate for all state employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or have an approved exemption.

WSU is 3-2 under Dickert, with the most recent win being the school’s first victory over rival Washington in the annual Apple Cup since 2012. In addition to that 40-13 victory over the Huskies, Dickert led Wazzu past Arizona (44-18) and Arizona State (34-21), with the losses coming against BYU (21-19) and No. 3 Oregon (38-24).

Speaking of Oregon, its current head coach, Mario Cristobal, may be in charge of the Miami program by the time of the Sun Bowl. According to ESPN, Cristobal is in discussions to become the next Hurricanes head coach, though Miami had not fired current coach Manny Diaz as of Sunday afternoon. If Cristobal does go to Miami, though, it’s unlikely he would coach in the Sun Bowl as coaches who change schools between the end of the regular season and bowl season typically don’t coach in bowl games.

Miami is also 7-5 this season, with its two best wins coming in back-to-back weeks – a 31-30 victory over North Carolina State on Oct. 23, followed by a 38-34 win over No. 17 Pitt on Oct. 30. The Hurricanes have won five of their last six games.

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