Honolulu—For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Nevada football team is going bowling to finish its season, and for the third time, it will be in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Bowl Executive Director David A. K. Matlin announced on Sunday that Nevada has accepted an invitation to the nationally televised ESPN bowl game and will face Conference USA champions Southern Mississippi.
“On behalf of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Executive Committee and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, I am pleased to invite the University of Nevada Wolf Pack to the 10th annual Sheraton Hawaii Bowl,” Matlin said in a press release.
“Led by Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault, the Wolf Pack will spend their last season in the WAC with a postseason trip to Honolulu!”
Southern Miss (11-2) upset the No. 6 Houston Cougars on Saturday in the C-USA title game, 49-28. The Golden Eagles are ranked No. 21 and 22 in the Coaches and AP polls, respectively.
“The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is a class bowl and playing a nationally ranked Southern Miss team presents us with a great opportunity,” Nevada head coach Chris Ault said.
Nevada finished the regular season 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the Western Athletic Conference, tied for second with Utah State.
The Wolf Pack are making their third appearance in the bowl only because the Hawaii Warriors were unable to defeat Brigham Young on the final day of the season to become bowl eligible and play in the Dec. 24 bowl.
“We are appreciative of the opportunity to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and we’re excited to be able to showcase our university and represent Nevada on national television on Christmas Eve,” said Nevada Athletics Director Cary Groth.
In its two other appearances in the bowl, Nevada defeated Central Florida 49-48 in 2005 and lost to Southern Methodist 45-10 in 2009.
Featuring the nation's fifth-most potent offense (522.8 yards per game) and eighth ranked rushing offense (251.8 yards per game), the Wolf Pack will be competing in their 12th all-time bowl.
“One of the most memorable games in our history featured the University of Nevada defeating UCF, 49-48 in overtime,” Matlin said. “With an exciting style of play, featuring the WAC's leading receiver Rishard Matthews, Nevada will represent the WAC well.”
Matthews is among the nation’s leaders in receiving (91 rec., 1,364 yds.) and has seven 100-yard receiving games.
Kickoff for the 2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is Saturday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. EST/3 p.m. HST, on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Tickets are available by calling 808-548-BOWL or online at www.sheratonhawaiibowl.com.