Navy accepts bowl bid

Midshipmen headed to Dec. 22 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego

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November 21, 2005|By BALTIMORESUN.COM STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- Navy will play in a bowl game in a Navy town.

The Midshipmen on Monday accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 22 at Qualcomm Stadium. Navy will most likely play Colorado State, although the Mountain West Conference won't announce its bowl lineup until Tuesday or Wednesday

"To get off to a good start in this inaugural bowl game we needed a marquee at-large team to play the Mountain West Conference, and what better matchup than to have the Naval Academy come to a Navy community such as San Diego?" said Bruce Binkowski, the bowl's executive director. "It can't get any better than this."

Navy also played in the inaugural Holiday Bowl in San Diego in 1978, beating BYU 23-16. The Holiday Bowl will be played at Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 29.

"Blue sky, 72 degrees, palm trees and sunshine in December works for us," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in accepting the invitation.

Navy will be making its third straight bowl appearance, a first in the academy's history.

The Midshipmen (6-4) became bowl eligible on Saturday, scoring 24 straight points in the second half to beat winless Temple 38-17.

Navy can achieve another first by beating Army on Dec. 3 and winning the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for a third consecutive year. The trophy is awarded to the team with the best record in games between the three major service academies.

"Let's beat Army first, then take on the Mountain West for a fantastic finish to a historic season," Gladchuk said.

The Poinsettia Bowl was approved by the NCAA earlier this year. Bowl officials had hoped all along to get Navy, but knew there were no guarantees.

"To bring the Midshipmen and all the pageantry they bring to a football game is just a natural," Binkowski said.

Binkowski said the Poinsettia Bowl wants to get Navy into a rotation of playing in the game every three to five years, with final details to be worked out.

Navy hopes to sell 20,000 tickets, and bowl officials hope to attract a total of 40,000 fans.

"I'm excited the team has achieved one of their goals, to have a chance to go to a bowl game, and I'm excited to be going to San Diego," Navy coach Paul Johnson said. "I was lucky enough when I coached in Hawaii to play there in the Holiday Bowl. It's a great city and I'm sure the kids will have a great time. We are excited about it."

Navy last played here in 1997, losing the season-opener to San Diego State.

The Poinsettia Bowl is sponsored by the San Diego County Credit Union. Tickets are on sale now at www.navysports.com and can also be purchased by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or at the Ricketts Hall Box Office. Tickets are $45 for club seats and $35 for field seats. Fans not able to attend the game can purchase tickets to send a Midshipman for $35.

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