December 7, 2009
HONOLULU — SMU will play Nevada in the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Executive Director David A. K. Matlin announced Sunday.
Sunday's announcement came five days after SMU announced it had accepted the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl invitation to play at Aloha Stadium on Christmas Eve.
(l. to r) SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Athletics Director Steve Orsini and Head Football Coach June Jones announce SMU's invitation to play in the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Watch a video of the announcement .
SMU, which has posted the biggest turnaround in the nation this season, will snap a 25-year bowl drought with this berth.
"The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is thrilled with the return of the Nevada Wolf Pack to our game," Matlin said Sunday. "Coach Ault is no stranger to our game and to the islands and we welcome his staff and players back to Honolulu. The Nevada and SMU match-up should provide a very exciting Christmas Eve game as folks tune in across the entire nation to watch our pigskin paradise match-up."
Nevada will be making its fifth consecutive bowl appearance and second Sheraton Hawaii Bowl since 2005.
At a December 1 news conference announcing SMU's acceptance, Matlin said, "We are very excited with the return of June Jones to Hawaii to participate in his fifth Sheraton Hawaii Bowl as a coach. Spending the Christmas season in Hawaii will be a well deserved reward for the players, coaches and the loyal Mustang fans."
"Having had the opportunity to participate in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in 2005, I can say with confidence that it is truly one of the best postseason experiences in college football," said Steve Orsini, SMU Director of Athletics. "This is a trip of a lifetime and an excellent reward for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We are excited to represent SMU and Conference USA in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl."
"We set this bowl as a goal before the season started and I am so happy that our players will be able to have this experience," said June Jones, SMU Head Coach. "Reaching our first bowl game in 25 years is special - not only for our current student-athletes, but also for the guys who came before them and our student body, staff and fans. This bowl has special meaning for me personally, as eight years ago, I was part of the original vision ESPN and Sheraton had for Hawaii and the nation. It is exciting to be a part of one of the best bowl experiences in college football."
SMU (7-5) will be making its 11th bowl appearance and first since 1984 when it played in the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu. The Mustangs tied for first place with Houston in the Conference-USA West Division with identical 6-2 league records. SMU, which finished 1-11 last season, is coached by former Hawaii coach June Jones, who is in his second year at the Hilltop.
The 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl will be played on Christmas Eve (Thursday, December 24) at 7 p.m. CST/3 p.m. HST and will be telecast by ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
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