Washington State to Face Minnesota in Holiday Bowl

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Drew Wolitarsky #82 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – Washington State will face Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium in a matchup of 8-4 teams, organizers announced Sunday.

Minnesota will be making its first Holiday Bowl appearance and first bowl game appearance in California since the 1962 Rose Bowl Game when it defeated UCLA, 21-3.

Washington State will be making its third appearance in the bowl game and first since 2003 when it defeated Texas, 28-20. The Cougars lost to Brigham Young, 38-36 in the 1981 game, in a game it trailed 31-7 early in the second half.

The Golden Gophers finished fourth in the Big Ten Conference’s seven- team West Division, while the Cougars were second in the Pac-12’s six-team North Division.

The teams have one common opponent, Oregon State. Washington State defeated the Beavers, 35-31, on Oct. 29, while Minnesota was a 30-23 winner to open the season on Sept. 1.

The Holiday Bowl gets the second choice among Pac-12 Conference teams following the New Year’s Six games, behind the Alamo Bowl, which selected Colorado.

The Holiday Bowl’s contract with the 14-team Big Ten Conference guarantees it a “top-tier team,” said Mark Neville, the executive director of San Diego Bowl Games which operates the Holiday Bowl and the other bowl game played at Qualcomm Stadium, the Poinsettia Bowl.

This will be the first meeting between the teams since 1988. The Cougars lead the series, 3-2.