Spartans headed to RedBox Bowl, Western lands in Famous Potato Bowl

EAST LANSING — Michigan State has accepted an invitation to play in the Redbox Bowl against Oregon at 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The game will be nationally televised on FOX.

The Spartans finished the regular season with a 7-5 overall record (5-4 Big Ten) and are looking to win their second straight bowl game, while Oregon went 8-4 overall and placed fourth in the Pac-12 North Division with a 5-4 conference mark. It will be first-ever matchup between the two schools in a bowl game.

The Redbox Bowl marks the 11th bowl bid in 12 seasons under MSU head coach Mark Dantonio, who owns a 107-50 record at the helm of the Spartans. MSU has won five of its last six bowl games.

Dantonio already owns school records for most bowl wins (five) and bowl appearances (11), including a school-record four-game bowl winning streak with victories in the 2011 Outback Bowl vs. No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl over TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl against No. 5 Stanford, and 2015 Cotton Bowl vs. No. 4 Baylor. The Spartans defeated No. 18 Washington State, 42-17, in the 2017 Holiday Bowl.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to represent the Big Ten in the Redbox Bowl against a great Pac-12 opponent in Oregon,” said Dantonio. “We’ve played two outstanding games against Oregon back in 2014 and 2015, and it will be exciting to face them in a bowl game for the first time in school history. It’s always a special moment to play in a bowl game and the week will be a rewarding experience for our players and program. San Francisco is a great town and we’re going to be playing in a first-class facility at Levi’s Stadium.

“Facing Oregon will be a tremendous challenge. They beat Washington, who won the Pac-12 and is playing in the Rose Bowl, and also Cal and Arizona State. They have a high prolific offense and feature one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Justin Herbert.

“We’ve been in every single football game this season playing in a very difficult conference. Our players will be ready for the challenge and I know they’re motivated to close out the season on a winning note.”

The MSU-Oregon all-time series is tied 3-3, as the home team has won the six previous meetings. This will be the first neutral-site matchup.

Dantonio is 1-1 against Oregon, with a win over the No. 7 Ducks in Spartan Stadium in 2015 en route to a Big Ten Championship. Oregon won the 2014 matchup in Eugene on its way to winning the Pac-12 title. Both of those matchups featured AP Top 10 clashes and the winners eventually secured berths in the College Football Playoff.

The Spartans will be making their 28th all-time bowl appearance (12-15 record).

Spartan fans are encouraged to purchase bowl game tickets from the official team allocation through the Spartan Ticket Office. MSU officials anticipate having a sufficient quantity of bowl game tickets to accommodate Spartan fans.

Tickets may be requested online at msuspartans.com (click “tickets” and proceed to the Spartan Online Ticket Office) or by calling the Spartan Ticket Office (open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 800-GO-STATE.

Famous Potato Bowl

KALAMAZOO — For the second time in school history, the Western Michigan football team has been invited to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Representing the Mid-American Conference, the Broncos will face Mountain West opponent BYU Friday, Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. ET at Albertsons Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

“We are extremely excited to be invited and accept an invitation to play in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl,” WMU head coach Tim Lester said. “We know it is a first-class event and are gratified for the opportunity and to play on the famous blue turf.”

This will be Western Michigan’s fourth bowl game in the last five years and the Broncos’ ninth bowl trip in school history. It is also WMU’s second trip to Boise in the last five years. WMU faced Air Force in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2014.

Western Michigan finished the regular season with a 7-5 overall and 5-3 MAC record. The Broncos closed the conference season with a 28-21 win over MAC champion Northern Illinois. Playing as an independent, BYU finished the regular season with a 6-6 record. BYU also faced off against Northern Illinois, falling 7-6 to the Huskies on Oct. 27.

It will be the sixth all-time meeting between Western Michigan and BYU. The teams met five times between 1962 and 1970. The Broncos have two wins in the all-time series, including in the last meeting, a 34-17 victory in Kalamazoo in 1970.

Additional ticket and fan experience information will follow in the upcoming days on wmubroncos.com.

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