Dec. 1, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. -- - The Washington State University Cougars accepted an invitation to play in the 26th annual game of the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m. (PST), 2003 Bowl President Pete Hedley announced today.
"The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl looks forward to welcoming the Cougars and their great fans to San Diego," said Hedley. "They're an exciting team and a perfect fit for San Diego's Bowl Classic."
The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl features the Pacific-10 Conference runner-up against the third selection from the Big 12 Conference. Under first year head coach Bill Doba, the Cougars finished the regular season 9-3 overall, 6-2 in the Pac-10. Doba today was named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year. The Cougars opponent will not be known until December 7, after the BCS makes its bowl selections.
"We are excited about the opportunity to play in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and looking forward to bringing Cougar Nation to the city of San Diego," Doba said. "I had the chance to take part in this game while I was on the coaching staff at Indiana (1979) and it was an awesome experience. There is so much to do in San Diego, the hospitality is great, the people are great, and we will be facing a high quality opponent."
Washington State already has sold its allotment of 11,500 tickets and has asked for additional tickets for its fans.
Washington State is making its third bowl appearance in as many years. During that span, the Cougars have been among the most successful programs in the country, compiling a 29-8 record and capturing the Pac-10 title in 2002. With a win in San Diego, the Cougars could become the first team since USC from 1931-33, to record three straight 10-win seasons.
The Cougars are making their second appearance in the Holiday Bowl. In the 1981 game, the Cougars fell to the BYU Cougars in a thriller, 38-36.
Tickets for the 2003 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl may be ordered by calling Ticketmaster (619-283-5808), or by visiting ticketmaster.com or PacificLifeHolidayBowl.com.
Cougar fans may still purchase tickets to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl through Spokane-based Tickets West by calling 800-325-SEAT or on-line at www.ticketswest.com.
The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl will be televised live nationally by ESPN, with Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried handling the announce duties.
Among the 2003 Cougar highlights:
The Cougar defense led the nation with 45 takeaways, pacing Division I teams with 21 fumbles recovered and trailing only Nebraska with 24 interceptions.
Senior defensive end D.D. Acholonu recorded 13.5 sacks in 2002, finishing in a tie for fifth nationally and second in the Pac-10 in that category. Acholonu has 29.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss in his WSU career.
Senior kicker Drew Dunning capped a solid career by breaking WSU's record for points in a career with 331. Dunning converted 27 of 30 field goals in 2003, and has knocked in 68 of 87 career attempts. Dunning is 13th nationally in scoring this season.
Senior defensive backs Erik Coleman and Jason David combined for 13 interceptions. Coleman led the Pac-10 with seven picks and is second on the team with 82 tackles. David has 16 career interceptions, good for second on WSU's career list.
Senior quarterback Matt Kegel waited four years for his opportunity to start and made the most of it, throwing for 2,744 yards and 19 touchdowns despite injuries that limited his production late in the season. Kegel could eclipse 4,000 career passing yards with 221 through the air in the Holiday Bowl.
Additional information on the 2003 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl is available at www.holidaybowl.com.
Cougar fans may make their bowl travel and hotel arrangements through Dodds Athletic Tours by accessing their web site at www.doddsathletictours.com/wsu. Dodds Athletic Tours is the official WSU Holiday Bowl tour provider.