Air Force to face Toledo in Military Bowl Dec. 28

  • Published
  • By Don Branum
  • Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Officials announced the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons will play the University of Toledo Rockets Dec. 28 in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington D.C.

ESPN will televise the first meeting between the Falcons, who are in the Mountain West Conference, and the Rockets, who are in the Mid-American Conference.

"We're ecstatic," said Falcons Head Coach Troy Calhoun. "The Military Bowl ... is us. It's who we are. When the door opened, we thought this was a perfect fit. We're lucky to be able to get this and to go to Washington, D.C."

Air Force finished its season at 7-5 (3-4 MWC), highlighted by an overtime 35-34 win over Navy and a 24-14 win over Army to win its second-consecutive Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Air Force took a 37-26 loss to then-No. 5 Boise State and straight wins over MWC rivals University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Colorado State University. The Falcons are ranked No. 2 in the nation in rushing yards, averaging more than 320 yards per game.

Toledo also faced Boise State University, falling 40-15 a week after a narrow 27-22 loss to then-No. 15 Ohio State University. The Rockets are ranked eighth in the nation for overall points, with more than 42 points per game on average. They finished the regular season 8-4 (7-1 MAC) on wins over Michigan State, Central Michigan and Ball State universities wherein the Rockets scored a combined 155 points.

"I know some of the guys (who) play for Toledo, and I'm from just down the street in Cincinnati," said Air Force senior safety Jon Davis. "I'm pretty excited. To be able to play in the Military Bowl is amazing."

Air Force has won its last two straight bowl appearances, defeating Georgia Tech 14-7 in the 2010 Independence Bowl and beating the University of Houston 47-20 in the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl. This is the Falcons' fifth-straight bowl appearance under Calhoun's tenure as head coach. The Rockets make their second bowl appearance in Coach Tim Beckman's three years, having lost to the Florida International Golden Panthers in the 2010 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, 34-32.

The Military Bowl is sponsored by Northrop Grumman. Portions of the proceeds benefit the USO, with donations of more than $100,000 made in 2010. Tickets are available through TicketMaster or via the Military Bowl's website.

(Information compiled from Air Force Academy Athletics and staff reports.)