Cards to Face Boise State at Liberty Bowl

BOISE, Idaho * Boise State University, ranked 10th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, has accepted an invitation to play eighth ranked University of Louisville in the 46th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic. The game will be played December 31 (Friday) in Memphis, Tennessee, with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised by ESPN.

The Broncos completed its 2004 regular season with an undefeated record of 11-0, and captured its third straight Western Athletic Conference Championship with their third consecutive undefeated mark of 8-0. Boise State is also ranked 11th in this week's Associated Press poll, and eighth in this week's Bowl Championship Series standings.

Louisville has an overall record of 9-1, and is the champion of Conference USA with a record of 7-0. The Cardinals complete their 2004 regular schedule this Saturday (Dec. 4) with a league contest at Tulane. Along with its number eight ranking in the coaches poll, Louisville is also ranked seventh in the AP poll and ninth in the BCS standings. Louisville's only loss this season is 41-38 to the University of Miami (Fla.) on October 14.

This year's Liberty Bowl match-up will mark the second time Boise State and Louisville have met in a post-season bowl game in six years. The Broncos handed Louisville a 34-31 defeat in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl played at Bronco Stadium in Boise, which is also the only time the two schools have met on the football field.

Boise State is making its fifth post-season bowl appearance in the past six seasons, and has a perfect record of 4-0 in bowl games. Along with its victory over Louisville, the Broncos have defeated UTEP 38-23 in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl, Iowa State 34-16 in the 2002 Humanitarian Bowl and TCU 34-31 in the 2003 PlainsCapital Forth Worth Bowl.

Along with matching two top 10 teams in this year's AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the game will also feature the top two offensive teams in the country. Louisville leads the country in scoring with a 49.80 points-per-game average, and in total offense averaging 538.2 yards per game. Boise State is second in scoring with a 49.73 points-per-game average, and is also second in total offense with a per-game average of 511.6 yards.

Boise State will bring the country's longest winning streak into the New Year's Eve game with 22 straight victories. The last loss for the Broncos was on September 20, 2003, at Oregon State, 26-24. Along with its 22 consecutive wins, Boise State has also won a league record 26 straight WAC games, 25 straight wins at home and a is 15-0 in games broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2.

Directing the Bronco football program is head coach Dan Hawkins. In his four years at Boise State, Hawkins has built up a record of 44-6 (88.0%), a WAC record of 30-2 (93.8%), three consecutive WAC Championships (2001, 2002 and 2003), three straight post-season bowl appearances and three straight seasons ranked in the top 20 of the two major college polls.

While this will be Boise State's first appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Louisville will be making its fourth trip. The Cardinals defeated Michigan State in 1993, 18-7, and BYU in 2001, 28-10; while losing to Colorado State in 1999, 23-17.

Travel packages are now available through Inside the Ville's official travel partner, Rick and Jeff Tour's.

Rick and Jeff Tours will leave Louisville at 9:00 a.m. on December 30th, returning the morning of January 1st. Included in the package is two nights hotel, game ticket, motor coach transportation, dinner before the game, pre-game tailgate party and more. Cost for the trip is $325 per person, based on double occupancy. Please Rick at 314-6056 or Jeff at 807-7531 to reserve spot or for more details.

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