Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller ranks 14th nationally with 294.1 total offense yards per game.
Western Michigan University has accepted an invitation to play Rice University in the third annual Texas Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at Reliant Stadium, Texas Bowl manager Heather Houston announced Sunday evening.
"The Broncos and Owls are two of the most exciting football teams in the nation," Houston said in making the announcement. "I think that fans can look forward to another thrill-packed Texas Bowl game."
The Broncos will bring a 9-3 record into the game, their fourth bowl game ever and the second under head coach Bill Cubit. Western Michigan finished second behind Ball State in the Mid-American Conference's tough Western Division.
WMU is led by quarterback Tim Hiller, who ranks 14th nationally with 294.1 total offense yards per game. Receiver Jamarko Simmons is third nationally with 8.17 receptions per game and Brandon West is sixth nationally with 167.6 all-purpose yards per game. Twelve Broncos earned all-MAC honors this season, three as members of the first team.
"We are proud to be able to represent our university and the MAC in one of the best new bowl games in America," WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard said in accepting the bid. "Our student-athletes and fans are looking forward to this experience. It's a great day to be a Bronco."
Rice University, which tied for the championship of Conference USA's Western Division, was announced as a bowl participant last week. The Owls, under coach David Bailiff, also will bring a 9-3 record into the game.
"Our game will be one of only five non-BCS games that will match two nine-win teams," Houston said. "This will be one of the better matchups of the bowl season."
The 2008 Texas Bowl will be televised live nationally on NFL Network. The game also will be broadcast nationally by Westwood One radio and locally on KTRH 740 AM.
TCU defeated the University of Houston 20-13 on in the 2007 Texas Bowl before a crowd of 62,097. The audience was the third-largest crowd ever to see a college bowl game in Houston. The 2007 Texas Bowl attracted the eighth-largest crowd among non-BCS bowls last year. The Texas Bowl outdrew matchups such as Tennessee vs. Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Texas Tech vs. Virginia in the Gator Bowl and Alabama vs. Colorado in the PetroSun Independence Bowl.
The inaugural Texas Bowl was played on Thursday, December 28, 2006 at Reliant Stadium. Rutgers defeated Kansas State 37-10 before a crowd of 52,210, the largest crowd to witness a bowl game in Houston not involving a Texas team since 1972.
Tickets went on sale to the general public on Nov. 8 following an exclusive pre-sale window for those who bought tickets to the 2007 Texas Bowl. Tickets, which start at just $15, may be purchased online at TicketMaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the Reliant Stadium box office inside Budweiser Plaza.
Game tickets will also grant fans admittance to TexFest, a Texas-sized pregame party featuring a number of well-known local and national Texas music artists as well as "team spirit walks" when the teams arrive.