By Washington State Athletic Communications
The WSU Cougars accepted an invitation to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, Thursday, Dec. 28, at 6 p.m., Holiday Bowl Executive Director Mark Neville announced Sunday.
The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will feature the Cougars against the Michigan State Spartans from the Big Ten Conference. The Cougars are 2-5 all-time against Michigan State, with the last meeting coming in 1977, a 23-21 WSU win in East Lansing. Earlier Sunday, Michigan State was ranked No. 16 and WSU No. 18 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, marking the first time since 2008 that the Holiday Bowl will feature two programs ranked among the top 20 in the nation.
Under sixth-year head coach Mike Leach, the Cougars finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record, the third-straight season WSU has recorded at least eight victories. The Cougars opened the season with six-straight wins. Michigan State also enters the contest with a 9-3 overall record.
“Washington State is excited to be invited to the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl,” said WSU Interim Director of Athletics John Johnson. “It is a first-class event and the staff treated us exceptionally well last season. San Diego is a wonderful destination for our fans and we look forward to celebrating the 40th year of the bowl game with a tremendous week of activities, culminating with a great bowl matchup against a storied program in Michigan State.”
Washington State’s football program is making its third-straight bowl appearance and fourth in six years under Leach, marking the first time a coach has done either at WSU. It also marks the 14th overall bowl game for the Cougar program. Last season WSU fell to Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl after defeating Miami in the 2015 Sun Bowl. Previously WSU has played in the Rose Bowl (1916, 1931, 1998, 2003), the Holiday Bowl (1981, 2003), the Aloha Bowl (1988), the Copper Bowl (1992), the Alamo Bowl (1994), the Sun Bowl (2001, 2015) and the 2013 New Mexico Bowl. The Cougars are 7-6 in bowl games all time.
“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to play Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl. Go Cougs,” said WSU Head Coach Mike Leach.
The Cougars are making their second straight and fourth overall appearance in the Holiday Bowl. Last season WSU fell to Minnesota, while it defeated No. 5 Texas in 2003 and narrowly fell to No. 14 Brigham Young in 1981.
Tickets for the 2017 Holiday Bowl may be ordered through wsucougars.com and more information is available at WSU’s special Bowl Bound website. Fans may also call the Cougar Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-COUGS. Information is also available from the Holiday Bowl’s website.
The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will be televised live nationally by FS1 from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.