Air Force has accepted a bid to play in the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 29 at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, bowl officials announced Saturday.
The Falcons (6-5) became bowl-eligible with Friday night’s 21-7 victory over Hawaii in Colorado Springs, Colo.
It will mark the fourth time in the last six seasons for the Falcons to play in the Armed Forces Bowl, which has invited a service academy to compete in the contest five times since 2006. Air Force, a member of the Mountain West Conference, will play an opponent from Conference USA in the contest that will kick off at 10:45 a.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
“We are thrilled to have the Air Force Academy,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Armed Forces Bowl. “What better way to honor our armed forces than with a service academy competing in our game. With the Falcons and military fans numerous at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 games, we established record attendances figures each time.”
Because of renovations to Amon Carter Stadium the past two seasons, it will mark the first Armed Forces Bowl played in Fort Worth since Air Force defeated Houston, 47-20, in the 2009 game. The contest, in its 10th season, was played at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas the past two years.
Dr. Hans Mueh, Air Force athletic director, said his school is “very excited to be going back to Fort Worth” for the contest.
“This is a great opportunity for the Air Force Academy,” Mueh said. “We are very honored to take part in the 10th anniversary of such a prestigious, well-run bowl game.”
Air Force will be playing in its sixth consecutive bowl game under coach Troy Calhoun. School officials accepted the bid after Friday night’s victory over Hawaii (1-9) in which Air Force did not attempt a pass. The Falcons’ ground-oriented, option offense came into the game ranked second nationally among FBS schools in rushing, averaging 335.5 yards per game.
Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz, one of 23 seniors on the team, called the berth in the Armed Services Bowl “a pretty sweet way to go out” in his college career.
Tickets for the game can be purchased online at www.ArmedForcesBowl.com, with prices ranging from $20 to $150. Armed forces veterans and active duty personnel can request complimentary tickets, while supplies last, through the bowl’s website or by calling the bowl office at 817-810-0012.
_ Jimmy Burch