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Navy to play in Poinsettia Bowl

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 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 22 at Qualcomm Stadium against Colorado State, which confirmed the matchup Tuesday.

"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."

It will be Colorado State's ninth postseason appearance in 13 seasons under head coach Sonny Lubick.

Tom Ehlers, CSU's director of football operations, confirmed the Rams (6-5, 5-3 Mountain West) will play in the game.

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.