Maryland to Face Oregon State in Emerald Bowl

Maryland has accepted a bid to play Oregon State in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Francisco, athletics director Debbie Yow and coach Ralph Friedgen announced tonight.

The game will be at 8:30 p.m. EST at AT&T Park, the San Francisco Giants' stadium that is morphed into a makeshift football field for this game.

The Beavers finished 8-4 (6-3 in Pac-10), including wins in six of their final seven games and a double-overtime win over rival Oregon on Saturday to close out the season.

"Once again this year we've got another excellent pairing of two nationally known programs," said Gary Cavalli, executive director of the Emerald Bowl. "[Maryland's] a program that we think will draw very well in the Bay area and bring a lot of folks. So from our standpoint we couldn't be happier with the pairing we have."

The Emerald Bowl's Pac-10 selection was unknown until this morning, Cavalli said, because it was uncertain if Arizona State would be selected for a BCS at-large bid. As it turned out, the Rose Bowl selected Illinois, keeping alive its traditional Pac-10-Big Ten match-up. That means the Sun Devils will go to the Holiday Bowl.

Oregon State, which finished third in the Pac-10, would have been slated for the Sun Bowl, but it went there last year and the Sun Bowl has a no-repeat clause, meaning it can opt out of taking the same team in back-to-back years. As a result, Oregon, which finished fourth in the Pac-10, will play in the Sun Bowl.

The Emerald Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl and Music City Bowl select from the ACC's fifth-, sixth- and seventh-ranked teams. The Music City Bowl selected Florida State and the Car Care Bowl Selected Wake Forest, leaving the Emerald Bowl with the choice between Maryland and Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets went to San Francisco two years ago and fired their coach last week, making them the less-attractive team.

The Terps also impressed the Emerald Bowl committee with two top-10 wins this season and a convincing 37-0 win over N.C. State in the regular season finale to become bowl eligible.

"I was really impressed after that devastating loss to Wake Forest they came back the next weekend and beat Rutgers. That showed me a lot of resilience and heart. The selection committee has been impressed with Maryland the whole year," Cavalli said.

"Coach Friedgen's teams are always known for the offense and innovation and bowl directors always want high-scoring teams. You're not looking for a 10-7 game in a bowl game."

Yow said Maryland has 5,000 alumni in California and the athletic department will launch an aggressive marketing campaign starting this week.

"We think we're going to have probably a particularly strong showing," Yow said. "As everyone knows San Francisco is a unique city. From talking to coach Friedgen this is a site that our players were really interested in going to and I'm sure a lot of them have never been."

For Friedgen, Oregon State presents a tough challenge. The Beavers boast the nation's No. 2 rushing defense and No. 12 total defense. Their running back, Yvenson Bernard, was a Heisman candidate before getting injured towards the end of the year. In 10 games, he had 1,095 rushing yards on 237 carries and 12 rushing touchdowns.

"It's going to be a very tough game and we'll have to play our best and I think our players are excited about doing that," Friedgen said.

The payout for the bowl is $750,000, which will be pooled with the rest of the ACC's winnings and divided equally among the conference's 12 teams, Yow said. AT&T Park's capacity for football is 40,000—Oregon State will receive 11,500 tickets and Maryland will receive 10,000, Cavalli said.

This will be the first time Maryland will face a Pac-10 team in a bowl game since losing to Washington in the 1982 Aloha Bowl.

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