Colorado State University, a veteran postseason team, yesterday accepted an invitation to meet Navy in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 22 in San Diego.
From Fort Collins, Colo., the Rams will be making their ninth bowl appearance in the past 11 seasons under coach Sonny Lubick and will be playing the Midshipmen for the first time in their history.
Colorado State qualified again for a bowl by winning its Mountain West Conference finale at the Nevada-Las Vegas, 31-27, last weekend, finishing with a 6-5 record. It tied for second in the MWC at 5-3.
Navy (6-4) is familiar with the conference, having beaten New Mexico in last year's Emerald Bowl, 34-19, and has an annual showdown against Air Force, a 27-24 victim of the Midshipmen during the regular season when Joey Bullen kicked a field goal with less than a second left.
By comparison, Colorado State won at New Mexico this season, 35-25, and routed Air Force at home, 41-23.
The Rams are no strangers to postseason action in San Diego. They have participated in the Holiday Bowl three times, losing to Michigan in 1994 and Kansas State in 1995 and beating Missouri in 1997.
Their offense features the pass. They are averaging 273.2 yards a game through the air and only 119.9 on the ground. Quarterback Justin Holland has thrown for a school-record 20 touchdowns this season and receiver David Anderson is the program's career leader in catches and receiving yards.
Navy regained the national rushing lead by amassing 375 yards against Temple and will be going against a rush defense that is last in the MWC with an allowance of 200.6 yards a game. The Midshipmen enter their finale against Army with an average of 287.5.
Poinsettia Bowl Navy vs. Colorado State, Dec. 22, 10:30 p.m., San Diego, ESPN2, 1090 AM, 1430 AM