Bulls Play NC State in Meineke Car Care Bowl

USF learned Saturday night it would play in its first-ever Bowl game when the head coach Jim Leavitt accepted an invitation from the Meineke Care Bowl and Sunday the Bulls learned their opponent will be North Carolina State. The game will be played December 31 at 11 a.m. in Charlotte, NC and it will be aired on ESPN2.

NC State finished the season 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack upset then #9-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee, 20-15, and finished the season winning four of their last five games. NC State became bowl eligible with a 20-14 victory over Maryland in the season finale.

"We're excited to play a program the caliber of NC State," says USF head coach Jim Leavitt. "We know they are an outstanding program with a tremendous coach and we're excited about the challenge."

USF finished 6-5 in its first season in the BIG EAST, including a 45-14 win over then-ninth ranked Louisville. The Bulls became bowl eligible with a win over Cincinnati November 19. The Meineke Car Care Bowl will be the 100th game in USF football history. The program was born when Leavitt was hired December 12, 1995. The team did not compete in 1996 and first played in September 1997 with an 80-3 debut win over Kentucky Wesleyan. The Bulls started at I-AA and became a I-A independent in 2001. USF joined Conference USA in 2003 and the BIG EAST this season.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl, formerly known as the Continental Tire Bowl, was named one of the five-best start-ups in sports over the past five years by the Sports Business Journal, behind only the NFL Houston Texans and ESPN the Magazine. The game has sold out two of its first three years and averaged more than 65,000 fans each year.

The inaugural game, played on December 28, 2002 before a sold-out stadium, saw Virginia defeat West Virginia, 48-22. On December 27, 2003, Virginia once again claimed victory, this time over Pittsburgh, 23-16. This past year's game, on December 30, 2004, was again a sellout, as Boston College defeated North Carolina, 37-24.

USF fans should check the Meineke Car Care Bowl link on the GoUSFBulls.com home page for ticket details and travel packages or call Toll Free Reservations Line: 1-800-338-4919


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