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Hawaii Bowl invites SMU from Conference USA

The Hawaii Bowl officially invited the SMU Mustangs of Conference USA on Monday afternoon to play a Mountain West team in the Oahu-based bowl game, which will be played Christmas Eve on Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl announced Monday afternoon that the SMU Mustangs has accepted an invitation to play in against a team from the Mountain West Conference -- possibly the Fresno State Bulldogs or Boise St. Broncos -- on Monday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT (3 p.m. in Honolulu) on Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium outside Honolulu, HI.The game will be televised by ESPN.

The Mustangs, who finished 6-6 on the season and are coached by former Hawaii head coach June Jones, are led by quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who is ranked 5th in Conference USA in total offense with 2,968 yards on the season and running back Zach Line, who ranks second in rushing in CUSA with 1,207 yards on the season and 14 touchdowns. The Mustang defense ranks 26th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 129.08 yards per game.

"We’re very pleased to invite the SMU Mustangs to the (2012 Hawaii Bowl)," said Hawaii Bowl executive director David A.K. Matlin said in a press release Monday. "SMU finished their season strong, winning four of its last six games and handing Conference-USA West Division champion Tulsa its first conference loss. Coach June Jones and the Mustangs represented themselves well as our 2009 bowl champions and we are looking forward to welcoming them and their fans back to Honolulu for the 11th annual Sheraton Hawaii Bowl."

SMU will be making its 15th bowl appearance and third bowl appearance in Honolulu (1984 Aloha and 2009 Sheraton Hawai‘i). The Mustangs finished second behind Tulsa in the Conference-USA West Division with a 5-3 league record. Under head coach June Jones, SMU will be making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance.

"Having been affiliated with this bowl since its inception, I know that it is one of the best bowl experiences in college football," said Jones. "I’m very excited for our players, staff and fans. This is a special experience."