Blue Raiders invited to Bowl

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are going to its third bowl game in five years and making back-to-back trips for the first time in the FBS era.

Middle Tennessee was officially extended an invitation on Sunday for Rick Stockstill's Blue Raiders to represent the Sun Belt Conference in the 12th annual Bowl on Jan. 6, 2011. It will mark the third bowl game of the FBS (I-A) era for Middle Tennessee and the seventh bowl game in school history.

The game against Mid-American Champion Miami (OH) will be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 7:00 PM Central before a nationwide television audience on ESPN. It will mark the first meeting between the schools and will be a school record fourth nationally-televised game for the Blue Raiders this season.

"We are thrilled to extend our season in Mobile and appreciate the invitation by the Bowl," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "It is a great bowl for our players and fans and we can't wait to get there. It has also been a pleasure working with Jerry Silverstein, president of the Bowl and his staff. Being able to matchup with a quality opponent like Miami of Ohio who had a huge win in its championship game is great for our program."

Under Stockstill, the Blue Raiders won three straight games to close the regular season and reach postseason play for the third time in five years. After a disappointing start, the Blue Raiders have won four of their last six games and will enter the bowl game playing its best football of the season.

"One of our goals entering the season was to play in a bowl game and I am extremely proud of our team and coaching staff for accomplishing this," said Stockstill. "It has been like a playoff the past three weeks and I am proud of how these guys have handled the situation. They have showed a lot of character and toughness.

"I have talked to Larry Blakeney at Troy and he said it is a great bowl and that our players and fans will have a tremendous experience."

The Blue Raiders (6-6) will be facing a Miami of Ohio team that finished 9-4 and won the MAC Championship against No. 25 Northern Illinois in the final seconds of play. The Red Hawks own a +8 game improvement from last season and will be trying for an FBS record of +9 in the bowl game.

"We are playing a conference champion and a team that has really turned it around from a year ago," said Stockstill. "They have some good wins this season and are very well coached in all phases of the game. I have not watched them on tape but I know it will be quite a challenge and we will have to play our best to compete with them."

Fans need to purchase tickets through the Middle Tennessee ticket office by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU or logging onto Tickets for the Bowl are $45 and it will include an official "Blueout" T-Shirt. The commemorative shirt will be a collector's item and fans are encouraged to wear it at the game.

The Blue Raiders will be off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before meeting on Thursday to receive their bowl practice schedule. The team will leave for Mobile on January 2.

For all the latest information on the Blue Raiders' bowl trip, please log onto

Middle Tennessee Bowl History 1956 Refrigerator Bowl - Evansville, IN Sam Houston State 27, MT 13

1960 Tangerine Bowl - Orlando, FL MT 21, Presbyterian 12

1961 Tangerine Bowl - Orlando, FL Lamar Tech 21, MT 14

1964 Grantland Rice Bowl - Murfreesboro, TN MT 20, Muskingum 0

2006 Motor City Bowl - Detroit, MI Central Michigan 31, MT 14

2009 New Orleans Bowl – New Orleans MT 42, Southern Miss 32

2011 Bowl – Mobile, AL MT vs Miami (OH)

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