By Brian Gunning, Army Athletic CommunicationsDecember 1, 2010
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 1, 2010) -- The Army football team has accepted its first postseason bid since 1996, securing a spot in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Dec. 30.
Army will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent from Conference USA. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. ET with a national television broadcast on ESPN.
"West Point is proud and excited to accept an invitation to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl," said U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David Huntoon. "We have a great football team of players and coaches who have played with head, heart and character, helping Army return to a postseason bowl game for the first time since 1996. We are especially honored to participate in a bowl game that honors our men and women in uniform. We know we'll have a strong following from our Soldiers and their families from Fort Hood as well as from other military installations in the state of Texas, and we're thrilled they will have an opportunity to see the Army team in action."
The Black Knights secured the bid after last weekend's results guaranteed that TCU will play in a Bowl Championship Series game. The Mountain West Conference has four other schools (Utah, 10-2; San Diego State, 8-4; Air Force, 8-4; and BYU, 6-6) to fill the league's five guaranteed bowl berths, leaving an opening for Army, which signed a secondary tie-in agreement with the Armed Forces Bowl last April.
"We are excited about representing the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said. "This is an especially appropriate venue for our return to post season play. We take great pride in the values and traditions of West Point, the Armed Forces Bowl presents a tremendous opportunity to showcase them to the entire nation. This represents a milestone for our program that our players and coaches have worked extremely hard to make happen."
Tickets for the game are $40, and can be purchased on-line at www.goARMYsports.com or by calling the Army Athletics box office at 1-877-TIX-ARMY. The Army Athletic Association would like to stress the importance of Black Knight fans purchasing their tickets through the West Point allotment. Not only does it guarantee a seat in the Army section with other Black Knights supporters, but also helps Army maximize the full benefit of playing in a postseason game. In addition, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl declared that its tickets have been sold out leaving only the two participating schools' allotments available.
Loyal members of the Army "A" Club, donors who purchase bowl tickets will receive an additional priority point for every seat they buy. All benefits associated with "A" Club membership are assigned or allocated, based upon availability, using the Priority Point Program. Army-Navy Game tickets, bowl tickets, and parking lot assignments are allocated using priority points. Every "A" Club member requesting tickets or eligible for parking will be sequenced in descending order of priority points and assigned the respective benefit.
Those fans who can't make it to the bowl game, but still want to support the program have the opportunity to purchase tickets and then donate them to a West Point cadet or an enlisted Army soldier from a local post. Fans who donate their tickets will still receive their additional priority points.
Larger blocks of tickets are also available with the added benefit of receiving a discounted rate. For $5,000, a block of 150 tickets can be bought, a savings of $1,000. A 325-ticket allotment can be purchased for $10,000 for a savings of $3,000. Blocks can be designated for use by either West Point cadets, or soldiers local to the area, if desired. Members of the "A" Club will receive the appropriate priority points for these bulk purchases as well.
Those purchasing a group of 25 or more tickets at face value will receive a pair of tickets for Army's showdown with Rutgers at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 12, 2011.
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.
Army was a member of Conference USA from 1998-2004, and has played at least one C-USA opponent in each of the last five years. Conference USA currently has six bowl eligible teams, including UCF, East Carolina, Southern Miss, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa. The Golden Knights, winners of the East Division, will host the West Division champion Mustangs on Saturday, Dec. 4 to crown the league champion. The winner of that game will position itself for a spot in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.
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.).
"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."
Army defeated North Texas, 17-13, in its most recent trip to the Lone Star State in November 2009.