(Tampa, FL) The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl will feature USF (7-5, 3-5) from the American Athletic Conference and Marshall (8-4, 6-2) from Conference USA, as both teams have accepted invitations to play in this year’s game.
The 11th edition of the bowl game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.
USF, which started the season 7-0 and earned a top 20 ranking, will be appearing in its hometown bowl for the second time. The Bulls played in the inaugural bowl game in 2008 as the Big East Conference representative and defeated Memphis 41-14. USF head coach Charlie Strong is also making his second trip to the bowl game. Strong was a rookie head coach at Louisville in 2010 and capped off his first year leading the Cardinals to a 31-28 win over Southern Mississippi.
“We are excited for the opportunity to compete in a bowl game against a good opponent and the chance to send our seniors out with a third straight bowl win,” Strong said. “We look forward to some good practices and work with our team to prepare for the game. Our players will enjoy the activities and bowl experience here in the Bay Area and they are excited to get back out on the field and perform in front of our fans.”
Marshall will be making its third appearance at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. The Thundering Herd defeated UConn 16-10 in 2015 and FIU 20-10 in 2011. Marshall finished the season winning three of its last four games.
“Any opportunity to play in a bowl game is great,” said Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. “The state of Florida has been good to our program for several years now and we’re excited to get back down to the Tampa area. We will face a very good South Florida team and a head coach that I know well in Charlie Strong.”
“We’re expecting lots of green clad fans at Raymond James Stadium,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. “We hope USF fans will be excited with the opportunity to stay at home to see their team in a bowl and Marshall has been well represented by their fan base both times they’ve been here.”
The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is owned-and-operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.
While the game is the headliner event, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl activities start a few days prior. This year the teams, their alumni and students will start arriving in Tampa on Sunday, Dec., 16, for the numerous bowl-related festivities leading up to kick-off. These events, which are free and open to the public, include the Beach Invasion (Dec. 16 – Treasure Island Park), Battle of the Bands (Dec. 18 – Treasure Island Park), Pep Rally (Dec. 19 – Armature Works) and the Fan Invasion (Dec. 20 – Raymond James Stadium).
For more information on the 2018 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl game and the numerous events, visit www.gasparillabowl.com. Additionally, follow the bowl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@GasparillaBowl).
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