Dogs Face N. Illinois in uDrove Humanitarian Bowl
Dec. 5, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. - Less than 48 hours after a dramatic win over the University of Illinois in Bulldog Stadium in its regular season finale, Fresno State learned it will play another Illinois team in the 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live by ESPN.
Fresno State received an invitational Saturday night to play in the 13th annual bowl game at Bronco Stadium. It marks the 23rd bowl appearance in school history for the Bulldogs, their 11th in the last 12 seasons under head coach Pat Hill.
The Dogs will play Northern Illinois (10-3), a team that last week was ranked No. 25 in the BCS standings before getting upset by Miami (Ohio) in the MAC championship game 26-21 on Friday night.
This will be Fresno State's third appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl. The Dogs won the 2004 event defeating No. 18 Virginia 37-34 in overtime and then again in 2007 over Georgia Tech 40-28.
The uDrove Humanitarian Bowl has featured a WAC member school for the last 10 years. Fresno State's three appearances are second to Boise State which has made four appearances in the bowl game.
This will be the second game of the 2010 bowl season and follows the New Mexico Bowl which kicks off earlier in the day.
Under Pat Hill, the Dogs have made 74 national television appearances this since and rank fourth among programs in the west (including schools from the WAC, Pac-10 and MWC) for most wins with 89. Only Boise State, USC, Utah and Oregon have more victories.
"We would like to thank Kevin McDonald and the Board of Directors of the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl," said Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh. "We are very pleased to return to Boise and represent the Western Athletic Conference. Our team and fans have enjoyed the Humanitarian Bowl experience in recent years and we truly appreciate the superb hospitality as well as the manner in which the fans of Boise have come to embrace our team for the event."
Fresno State (8-4, 5-3 WAC) suffered three losses this season to teams currently ranked in the Top 25 (No. 9 Boise State, No. 17 Hawaii and No. 25 Hawaii). Fresno State opened and closed the regular season with victories over schools from automatic BCS conference schools, beating defending Big East champion Cincinnati 28-14 in the opener and Illinois of the Big Ten 25-23 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
"Our team is excited to play in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against a very talented Northern Illinois team," said head coach Pat Hill, who is in his 14th season at Fresno State. "Boise is a great football town with great fan support not only for their hometown Broncos but for college football in general. Our two previous trips were special and memorable for our team and we had two historic wins for our program. We are looking forward to the great hospitality of the people of the Treasure Valley."
The Dogs are led by a stellar senior class including quarterback Ryan Colburn, who has thrown for over 2,500 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing nearly 62 percent of his passes. He ranks 29th in the NCAA in pass efficiency. On defense, the Dogs are led by Chris Carter and Logan Harrell, who are each ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in quarterback sacks with 11 and 10.5, respectively. The Bulldog defense ranks sixth nationally in quarterback sacks with 37. Senior middle linebacker Ben Jacobs leads the team in tackle for third straight season.
Fresno State will play a Mid American Conference opponent for the first times since 2008 when the Dogs played at Toledo and won 55-54 in double overtime. Fresno State and Northern Illinois have played four times, each winning twice. Fresno State won the last meeting 55-7 on Sept. 7, 1991 at Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State is 11-4 all-time against teams from the MAC: Ball State (1-0); Bowling Green (3-2); Eastern Michigan (1-0); Northern Illinois (2-2); Toledo (2-0); and Western Michigan (2-0).
This will be the sixth meeting against a MAC opponent in a bowl game and the first since the Dogs lost to Bowling Green in the 2001 California Bowl at Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State is 4-1 against MAC teams in bowl games with four of those played in Fresno.
Northern Illinois is coached by Jerry Kill in his third season and he has taken the Huskies to three straight bowl games and just its second MAC title appearance. In 2010 Kill has guided the Huskies to 10 wins which had only happened twice previously, most recently 1983, and the school's first-ever undefeated MAC season (8-0). Heading into the MAC title game, the Huskies had won nine consecutive games. The two regular season losses this season came at Iowa State and Illinois. NIU closed the regular season by averaging 65 points over the last three games with dominating wins over Toledo (65-30), Ball State (59-21) and Eastern Michigan (71-3). On defense, NIU has been very good at creating turnovers as 10 different players have accounted for 16 interceptions this season. Running back Chad Spann, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for more than 1,200 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in the regular season. Quarterback Chandler Harnish has thrown 17 touchdowns with just five interceptions while completing over 66 percent of his passes.
All ticket orders will be taken through the Bulldog Ticket Office beginning online Monday morning (Dec. 6) by clicking the tickets icon at the top of this page or at the Bulldog Ticket Office located at the south entrance of Bulldog Stadium or via phone at (559) 278-3647.
Bulldog Foundation Members and season ticket holders will be granted first priority based on their 2010 donation level. To inquire about donating or joining the BDF, please contact the Bulldog Foundation at (559) 278-7160.
"We're delighted to have two teams of this caliber play in the Bowl which will surely provide a competitive, entertaining match-up," said Kevin McDonald, uDrove Humanitarian Bowl executive director. "The Bowl's motto is `you gotta be tough to play here' and with four of the last five games decided on the final drive, we're bound to see another thriller on the blue turf."
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The uDrove Humanitarian Bowl is the first bowl game in the United States to have humanity in its brand. The Bowl recognizes the positive impact teams, coaches and student-athletes have in their communities and their leadership roles in promoting humanitarian efforts.
For information on the UDrove Humanitarian Bowl, please check out the web site: Humanitarian Bowl
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