The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are going to their fourth bowl game in the Rick Stockstill era and their first as new members of Conference USA.
Middle Tennessee will represent Conference USA in the 11th Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30. The clash will mark the fourth bowl game of the FBS (I-A) era for Middle Tennessee and the eighth bowl game in school history.
The game against Navy — the first between the two programs — will kick off at 10:45 a.m. Central time from Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University. It will air on ESPN, ESPN Radio and will be carried worldwide on the Armed Forces Network as well as the Blue Raider Network.
You can watch a preview show about the game below.
“We are thrilled to extend our season in Fort Worth and appreciate the invitation by the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” Director of Athletics Chris Massaro said after the invitation was extended Dec. 8.
“Coach Stockstill and I have always thought Fort Worth would be a desirable postseason site and, along with our fans, we cannot wait to get there.
“Our football program has enjoyed a thrilling first year in Conference USA, and they have certainly earned the right to be a part of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.”
The Blue Raiders, who ended the 2013 season with an 8-4 record, will be facing a U.S. Naval Academy team that is 7-4, ranks third nationally in rushing and has the nation’s leading scorer in Keenan Reynolds.
The Midshipmen, who will be making their 10th bowl trip in the last 11 years, played their final regular season game on Dec. 14 against Army for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, taking a win with a score of 34-7.
“It is hard to describe how appreciative we are to be playing in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said MT Head Coach Rick Stockstill. “The city of Fort Worth and the surrounding community put on a first-class event, which will serve as a great reward for a successful season. We can’t wait to arrive and get the week started.
“We had a lot of enthusiasm today and are excited to be back at practice,” the head coach added after the team’s Dec. 13 practice session. “I have always said that if you’re practicing when you’re cold, then you’ve had a great year. We’re through with exams, so we are all football and getting ready for this game. I was pleased with our practice today.”
The Blue Raiders will enter the postseason riding a five-game winning streak after going 6-2 in league play, finishing tied for second in the East Division of C-USA.
Fans can purchase tickets through the Middle Tennessee ticket office by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU or logging on to GoBlueRaiders.com. Each ticket for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will include an official commemorative T-shirt, and fans are being encouraged to wear it at the game.
The Blue Raiders planned to practice for a week, then enjoy a holiday break beginning Dec. 21 and leave for the bowl game Dec. 26. MTSU will be closed Dec. 24-Jan. 1 for the university’s winter break.
For all the latest information on the Blue Raiders’ bowl trip, including tickets and two Blue Raider Athletic Association chartered bus trips, please visit Blue Raider Bowl Central.
— MT Athletics (GoBlueRaiders.com)