Cougars to play University of Minnesota in Holiday Bowl

Dec 4, 2016, 1:16 PM | Updated: 3:13 pm
The Cougars are heading to their first Holiday Bowl since 2003. (AP)...
The Cougars are heading to their first Holiday Bowl since 2003. (AP)

The Cougars are heading to San Diego.

The 8-4 Washington State football team was selected to play against the University of Minnesota in the National Funding Holiday Bowl at 4 p.m. PT on Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium.

“Washington State is delighted to be invited to the National Funding Holiday Bowl,” said WSU Director of Athletics Bill Moos. “Both Coach (Mike) Leach and I have participated in this fabulous event in the past and have experienced first-hand the tremendous hospitality of the Red Coats and the wonderful city of San Diego.”

WSU started the season slowly, losing the first two games of the season, but followed up with eight straight wins. The team finished second in the Pac 12-North after losing to South Division champions Colorado and College Football Playoff-bound Washington in the Apple Cup.

The Gophers also finished 8-4, 5-4 in the Big Ten, which was fourth in the West Division. Each of Minnesota’s losses came against ranked foes – Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

The Cougars are 3-2 all-time against Minnesota, with the last meeting coming in 1988, a 41-9 WSU victory in Minneapolis.

This marks the 13th overall bowl game for the Cougar program. WSU last played in the Holiday Bowl in 2003, beating the No. 5 Texas Longhorns 28-20. The Cougars other appearance was a 38-36 loss in 1981 to BYU.

Mike Leach is 1-1 in bowl games as coach of the Cougs, with the victory being over Miami 20-14 in the 2015 Sun Bowl. He is 6-5 overall in bowl games over his 14 seasons as an FBS coach. He led Texas Tech to a 45-31 Holiday Bowl win over the University of California in 2004.

“We are thrilled to be going to the Holiday Bowl,” said Leach. “It is going to be a great matchup against two great teams. The last time we were in the Holiday Bowl we had a tremendous experience and expect the same this time around.”

The Wisconsin Badgers topped the USC Trojans 23-21 in last year’s Holiday Bowl.

Tickets for the Holiday Bowl can be ordered through Fans may also call the Cougar Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-COUGS starting at 9 a.m., Monday morning. Cougar Athletic Fund members will receive purchase priority through 5 p.m. Monday. While tickets for UW’s Bowl Championship semifinal in Atlanta started at around $150, prices were less than half that for the Holiday Bowl on Ticketmaster as of 1 p.m.


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