Army To Face SMU In Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
December 7, 2010
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 7, 2010) -- Two football programs boasting storied histories will square off on the gridiron for the first time in more than 40 years when Army battles SMU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
Army, which accepted its first postseason bowl bid since 1996 earlier in the week, learned its opponent for the game Saturday afternoon after SMU accepted an invitation to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl following its 17-7 loss to UCF in the Conference USA Championship game. SMU captured C-USA's West Division title by posting a 6-2 league mark. The Mustangs stand 7-6 overall. Seven of their opponents earned bowl bids this season.
The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will pit one of the nation's most prolific rushing offenses, Army's triple-option attack, opposite one of the country's most dynamic passing systems, SMU's high-octane run-and-shoot scheme.
Army enters its regular-season finale against Navy with a 6-5 record, the program's highest win total since the 1996 squad went 10-2. The Black Knights boast the 10th-ranked rushing offense in the nation (260.27 yds/game) led by sophomore FB Jared Hassin. Hassin ranks 54th nationally, averaging 80.09 yards per contest. The Black Knights' defense ranks 26th in the country, giving up 332.64 yards per game. Senior DE Josh McNary, Army's all-time leader in sacks, is tied for ninth in the country with 0.86 sacks per game.
SMU is led by bruising running back Zach Line, who has run for 1,391 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and talented quarterback Kyle Padron, who is averaging 271.2 passing yards per contest. Dangerous wideout Aldrick Robinson tops Conference USA with 60 receptions and has hauled in 13 touchdown passes.
In addition to playing in its home stadium, SMU will serve as the home team as the Conference USA representative where teams of that league have won two of their previous six appearances. Army will serve as the visiting team in the game.
Army has captured both of its previous meetings with SMU, winning 14-13 in 1928 at West Point, and 24-6 in Dallas in 1967.
The Black Knights are 2-2 in four previous bowl appearances. Army made its postseason debut with a 10-6 victory over Michigan State in the 1984 Cherry Bowl (Pontiac, Mich.), and followed that with a 31-29 win against Illinois in the 1985 Peach Bowl (Atlanta, Ga.). The Black Knights have lost their last two bowl appearances by a total of four points, falling 29-28 to Alabama in the 1988 Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas) and 32-29 versus Auburn in the 1996 Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.).
The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured a military theme since 2006 with patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual "Great American Patriot Award" (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance. Admiral Thad Allen (Retired) will accept the 2010 GAPA award at halftime. For more information on the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, visit www.ArmedForcesBowl.com.
"We are thrilled to have the United States Military Academy playing in the 2010 game," said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. "What better way of continuing to honor our past and present U.S. service members than with a service academy competing in our game. We fully expect Army fans and our numerous supporters of the military community to carry on the tradition of maximizing our bowl's stadium capacity."