Army accepts invite to Armed Forces Bowl, will face Houston

Army Athletic Communications

December 6th, 2018 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 Sophomore quarterback Cam Thomas breaks through a tackle against Miami (OH) earlier this season. The Black Knights will face Houston in the Armed Forced Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas Dec. 22. This will be the first time in program history Army has played in a bowl game in three straight seasons. Photo by Class of 2018 Cadet Henry Guerra

FORT WORTH, Texas – The No. 22/25 Army West Point football team has accepted a bid to the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl and will take on Houston, Brant Ringler, the bowl’s executive director, announced Sunday.
The game will take place at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, and is set for a 3:30 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Dec. 22. This will be the 16th matchup in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, which started in 2003.
“We are extremely excited to have the University of Houston and United States Military Academy in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl this year,” Ringler said. “These programs are first class and have brought us some of the most memorable moments in our 16-year history. We will never forget the excitement that the Cougars gave everyone the last time they played in the game, and we are honored to host Army West Point for a second straight year and to have a service academy playing in the game for the 10th time in the past 12 years.”
No. 23/25 Army (9-2) is riding a seven-game winning streak heading into its annual clash with Navy next Saturday. Army is second in the nation in rushing at 303.0 yards per game and has scored 37 touchdowns on the ground. The Black Knights have won nine games in consecutive years for the first time since the championship years of 1945 and 1946.
Jeff Monken is in his fifth year as head coach of the Black Knights. Over the past three years, Army is 27-10, including 19-5 in the past 24 games, and is making three-straight bowl appearances for the first time in program history.
If Army, which defeated Air Force last month (17-14), defeats Navy on Saturday, it would hoist the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in back-to-back seasons for the first time in its history.
This will mark the program’s eighth all-time bowl appearance. Army is 5-2 in previous games, and those seven postseason visits have been decided by a total of 26 points, and all by a touchdown or less.
The most recent contest was a 42-35 win last year over San Diego State in the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Houston (8-4, 5-3 American) finished the regular season with losses in three of its last four games, but the Cougars were 5-1 earlier in the season. Houston has no problem scoring points as the Cougars put up 46.4 points per game, but have allowed opponents to put over 34 points per contest on the scoreboard.
They are averaging 528 yards of total offense as well.
Head coach Major Applewhite is in his second season at the helm of the program. Applewhite is no stranger to bowl games as he has been to 12 in his coaching career and earned his first invite as a head coach last season to the Hawaii Bowl against Fresno State. In the past two seasons, Applewhite has amassed a 16-9 record with the Cougars.
The Cougars will be playing in their 27th major college bowl game and eighth straight. The team is 11-14-1 in those games.
It is the fourth time that Houston will play in the Armed Forces Bowl and the Cougars are 2-1 in their previous appearances.
The two teams have played seven times previously, all from 1998-2004, with Houston winning five of the seven matchups.
Both teams have been ranked this season in the nation’s top 25, with the Cougars being listed as high as 17th nationally during the year, while the Black Knights are currently No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
“This promises to be an exciting matchup between two talented, well-coached teams,” Ringler said. “We are looking forward to welcoming both programs and their great fans to Fort Worth in two weeks.”
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams–Air Force five times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015), Army three times (2010, 2017, 2018) and Navy (2013, 2016). The game has been ranked the No. 3 bowl game by CBSSports.com each of the past two years.
The annual game has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of service are prevalent throughout the game.
Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.
The matchup will be televised nationally on ESPN. It also will be aired in both English and Spanish on the Armed Forces Bowl Radio Network.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets through the Army West Point Athletic Association to have a direct impact on our cadet-athletes at West Point.