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Arizona accepts invite to play in New Mexico Bowl

The 7-5 Arizona Wildcats accepted an invitation to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl Sunday afternoon, where they will face the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday, Dec. 15 in the first bowl game of the FBS bowl game season.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez (center) of the Arizona Wildcats
Head coach Rich Rodriguez (center) of the Arizona Wildcats
Christian Petersen

The Arizona Wildcats accepted an invitation to the seventh annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats out of the Pacific-12 Conference will play the Nevada Wolf Pack of the Mountain West Conference on Branch Field at University Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. in the first bowl of the 2012-13 bowl season.

The game will air nationally on ESPN and ESPN 3D and will be broadcast on ESPN Radio.

New Mexico Bowl executive director Jeff Siembieda said the bowl Was "very happy to host the Arizona Wildcats in a press release:

"What a great matchup to kickoff college football’s post season," Siembieda said. "Two of the top offenses in America, the top two running backs in the country, two of college football’s top quarterbacks and playmakers all over the field. I think we’ve got the potential for a great, exciting football game."

Arizona, which finished 7-5 overall and 4-5 in Pac-10 play, is bowl-eligible for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Wildcats last bowl game was the 2010 Alamo Bowl, a 36-10 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Arizona's last bowl win was in the 2008 MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, a 31-21 victory over the BYU Cougars. Overall, Arizona is 6-9-1 in the postseason.

The game will match the nation’s leading rusher, Ka'Deem Carey out of Arizona, who has tallied 1,757 yards on one sideline versus Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson, the nation's second leading rusher who averages 142.92 ypg.

The Wildcats are seventh in the country in total offense, averaging 521.83 ypg while Nevada is 11th, averaging 502.83 ypg. The Wolf Pack is rated 7th in rushing offense, averaging 260.0 ypg, while U of A's strength also lies in the run, where the 'Cats averaged 230.42 ypg to rate 15th in the nation.

Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is seventh in the nation in total offense, averaging 338.45 yards per game and receiver Austin Hill is 12th in receiving yards with an average 99.08 ypg. Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo is also a offensive threat, ranking 11th in total offense, averaging 319.18 ypg.