BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University football team has announced that it has accepted an invitation to play in the Military Bowl versus the San Jose State in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 27, 2012. Opening kickoff is set for 3 p.m.
"We are thrilled and honored to be selected to play in the Military Bowl sponsored by Northrop Grumman," said BGSU head football coach Dave Clawson. "This is a great reward for our players and staff who have put in so much work and effort to build our program back to bowl eligibility. It will be exciting to be able to spend the holiday season with the Falcon family in the Nation's Capital."
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will be Bowling Green's 10th bowl contest in school history, and their second trip to Detroit, Mich., having defeated Northwestern (28-24) in the 2003 Motor City Bowl.
BGSU will enter the contest as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning seven of its last eight contests to finish the year at 8-4, the Falcons first eight win since since 2007.
Bowling Green features a defense that ranks seventh in the nation in total defense (289.7) and ninth in scoring defense (15.8), and finished the regular season with the seventh-best pass defense (173.0) and a rushing defense that ranks 15th in the country (116.7).
Chris Jones, the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, anchors a defense that ranks ninth in the country in sacks (37.0). Jones finished third in the country with 12.5 sacks and tied for seventh with 19.0 tackles for loss. He recorded a sack in 8-of-12 games and had a tackle for loss in 10 contests. Jones was also one of six members of the defense to earn All-MAC honors and one of three Falcons to be named to the first-team.
Sophomore Gabe Martin (first-team All-MAC) led the team with 69 tackles, adding 4.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and one interception in his first year starting for the Orange and Brown. Joining Jones and Martin on the first-team was BooBoo Gates, who started 11 games at safety, finishing the year with 44 tackles and two interceptions, while also serving as the team's kick returner.
Offensively the Falcons are led by third-year starting quarterback Matt Schilz, who has started 34 games in his career, throwing for 7,673 yards and 50 touchdowns. The junior ranks third in BGSU history in passing yards, passing attempts (1,167), passing completions (686) and is fifth in touchdowns.
Anthon Samuel, BGSU's starting running back, will enter the contest with 966 rushing yards, 34 yards shy of becoming just the eighth Falcon to ever go over 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. Samuel ranks 15th in BGSU history with 1,810 rushing yards.
"We are thrilled to be headed to the Military Bowl," said BGSU Athletics Director Greg Christopher. "Bowling Green has a strong alumni base on the East Coast and Washington is accessible for our Ohio fans as well. Dave and the players have worked hard to earn this opportunity. We turned the corner this year and I look forward to celebrating a great season with thousands of Bowling Green alums in RFK Stadium."
San Jose State is ranked No. 24 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll with a record of 10-2 overall. Both of the Spartans' losses came to teams currently ranked in the top 20 in the country in Stanford and Utah State. Junior quarterback David Fales ranks third in the country in pass efficiency and has thrown for more than 3,700 yards on the season. Junior wide receiver Noel Grigsby has 73 receptions for 1,173 yards. Defensively, junior Bene Benwikere has seven interceptions to rank third in the country and senior lineman Travis Johnson has 11 quarterback sacks.