Aztecs Rally To Cage Cougars On Rushing Record Day

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By W.G. Ramirez special for the Las Vegas Bowl

LAS VEGAS — As San Diego State pulled away for its 34-10 victory over Houston in the 25th Las Vegas Bowl, a second victory for the Mountain West Conference on the opening day of the bowl season became an afterthought.

With 11:49 left in the game, the storyline changed as senior running back Donnel Pumphrey ran 15 yards down San Diego State’s sideline, and became the NCAA career rushing leader. And has his teammates embraced him, tears ran faster than he did for 115 yards against the nation’s No. 3 rushing defense.

“I was more emotional when I broke the record, with my teammates, than I was with my family (after the game),” said Pumphrey, who surpassed Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne as the leading rusher in college football history and finished his career at San Diego State with a total of 6,405 yards. “It hit me at that point. Just to be able to celebrate with my teammates is amazing.

“I’m honestly blessed to be around these guys right here and just to experience all this with my teammates and my family and my friends – it’s amazing.”

Pumphrey – who had -1 yard after the first quarter – finished with 115 yards rushing and a touchdown to earn most valuable player honors in a game San Diego State (11-3) was installed as an underdog.

“We were told for the last two weeks on how good Houston was,” Aztecs coach Rocky Long said. “‘They beat No. 3 Oklahoma! They beat No. 4 Louisville!’ I mean, that’s a big-time football team and it was like we didn’t belong here. But I guess that was wrong.”

After a sluggish first half that saw Houston (9-4) open a 10-0 lead, the Aztecs made a minor adjustment in the trenches, which gave their rushing game some breathing room, and they scored 34 unanswered points en route to the win.

Pumphrey’s senior total of 2,133 yards rushing ranks in the top 10 for an FBS player. Teammate Rashaad Penny finished with a mere 23 yards rushing, but it sent him over the 1,000-yard plateau, giving him 1,018 for the season, marking the first time in NCAA history one team had a 2,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

“And that’s a credit to our players,” Long said. “I think our coaches do a nice job of evaluating, I think our coaches do a nice job of coaching, but guess what: coaches don’t make plays; coaches do not win games.

“Coaches can lose games, but coaches don’t win games – players win games. These guys win the games. All we have to do is make sure they’re in shape, they have the right attitude and give them an honest chance to win and then they go out and win.”

And while Pumphrey was doing his part to give his teammates a chance to win, San Diego State’s defense dominated the Cougars over the last three quarters. After gaining 102 yards on offense in the first quarter, Houston managed to gain just 152 yards the rest of the way.

The Aztecs intercepted Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr., four times, including Ron Smith’s 54-yard interception return.

“Their tempo was pretty fast, but the interceptions killed them,” San Diego state linebacker Calvin Munson said. “We just kept feeding off it. We were blitzing them from all sides, I felt like they started not being able to handle all the pressure and we started getting sacks and picks. It was a lot of fun, I had a blast out there.”

San Diego State wideout Curtis Anderson also caught a 28-yard touchdown pass – his only reception of the game – from Christian Chapman, while Juwan Washington ran for a touchdown, and placekicker John Baron booted two field goals for the Aztecs.

“Our team played very, very well today,” Long said. “Not only did we play well and beat them, I think we’re a Top 25 team. I think that people maybe know that we’re a pretty good program now that might not have.”

Las Vegas Bowl Post Game Quotes

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Las Vegas Bowl

Houston Postgame Quotes (Dec. 17, 2016)

Houston Head Coach Major Applewhite

Opening statement…

“First of all this is a great bowl game. Before I get into the bowl game itself, our guys had an outstanding time. There was great hospitality. They enjoyed themselves. Obviously, the game did not go the way we wanted it, but you have got to understand this is one of the best things about college football in terms of the bowl and what we offer student athletes and the opportunity to go somewhere different and have different experiences, and they really enjoyed themselves. I have to give hats off to Las Vegas Bowl and how they treat both teams. It’s just an outstanding bowl; top notch, first class.”

On offense struggles after second quarter…

“Turnovers, turnovers, we had situations where there was miscommunications on a route, miscommunication on a pick six. It really swayed the game. Being down 10, still think you are in the football game in the third quarter and then going down 17 for how we were producing, it became almost insurmountable in some people’s eyes. That is the bottom line. That is what we talked about. Neither team turned the ball over in the first half. It came down to ball security and how we played in the second half, and we did not take care of the ball similar as in the Navy game.”

On coaching first game as head coach…

“In general we stink. We lost. That is how I judge myself as an assistant, as a player and now as a head coach. If you win you did great. If you lose you did bad. Didn’t enjoy it. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. When we come back next spring, we lose a great senior class and that is the circumstances. So what is our attitude going forward and how do we prepare.”

On Donnel Pumphrey…

“When you give a great back that many at bats and that many opportunities, one is going to spit at some point and it did.”

Houston DL Cameron Malveaux

On Donnel Pumphrey success after first quarter…

“Nothing really changed as far as our game plan towards him. They just started making plays. It went down to zero count football. Some guys just got to show up and we just did not make enough plays after the first quarter.”

Houston TE Tyler McCloskey

On senior season ending with loss…

“(I feel) terrible. The way it started, they then beat the crap out of us. We did not show up. We didn’t execute the way we needed to. I thought we prepared well. We prepared hard. Obviously it wasn’t good enough. I just hope when they move forward, they should never want to feel like this. Hopefully look at all of us (seniors) and see how … I just got done crying. I hope the underclassmen see that and just understand going forward, getting better.”

San Diego State Postgame Quotes

San Diego State Head Coach Rocky Long

Opening statement…

“I thought it was a really good football game. Coming into the football game I thought both teams were well matched. I have great respect for their new coach and their program because I’ve watched them on TV. That’s the first time I’ve played against them, but I watched them on TV. When they beat Louisville, they beat Oklahoma, and all those types of people that means they’re good football team. Our team played very, very well today. Not only did we play well and beat them, I think we’re a Top 25 team. DJ was able to break the all-time record, which makes it even more special. We’re happy to be sitting here in front of you right now.”

What the win means for the program…

“I think that people maybe know that we’re a pretty good program now that might not have. Because I would guess that since this game was rated like it was, and it’s the first day of bowl season, that there was a lot of people watching. And the kind of national recognition Houston’s gotten over the last two years, you would think that would mean something for us to beat ’em like we did. Hopefully it means we’re going to recruit players like these guys. These were not highly recruited players, but they could play for anybody in the country and be good players for anybody in the country. Hopefully we’ll get some more that want to be a part of our system.”

On second-half adjustment…

‘I thought we really struggled in the first quarter with their quickness and their front seven. They were able to get in the backfield and hit our running backs in the backfield cause we could not get on them to block them or maintain the block. I thought our coaches did a great job on the sideline adjusting how our offensive linemen started to block at the line of scrimmage. We started double-teaming the down linemen and letting the linebackers go and let our running backs try to challenge the linebackers instead of the other way around. With the adjustments our coaches made, our offensive line, fullback and tight ends blocked much, much better. Our running backs are very, very talented, they’re talented guys; they cannot do it without those guys in front of them though.”

On Pumphrey & Penny rushing for over 3,000 yards…

“I’ve been told we’re the first ones to ever do that (in NCAA history), and that’s a credit to our players. I think our coaches do a nice job of evaluating, I think our coaches do a nice job of coaching, but guess what: coaches don’t make plays. Coaches do not win games. Coaches can lose games, but coaches don’t win games – players win games. These guys win the games. All we have to do is make sure they’re in shape, they have the right attitude and give them an honest chance to win and then they go out and win.”

On the three third-quarter interceptions changing the game…

“Any time you have a team that is as explosive as they are, and they run up and down the field and snap the ball every 15 to 18 seconds, I appreciated them slowing down there after a while, when they started looking to the sideline and asking for the right play. I appreciated that they had to slow down because they were averaging about a play every 15 seconds. Obviously when you move like that, and the ball is moving, when you intercept the ball it completely eliminates the momentum they have, it completely changes the momentum to the other side.”

On week-long preparation and curfew…

“I heard a few of them complaining about our curfews and all that stuff, but there’s nothing good that happens after midnight, that’s what my father used to say. And they were there. And they don’t get their per diem unless they show up for curfew, so they all were there because they love money. But I thought they did a nice job. They had a good time, they had fun, especially with each other. The bowl committee did a great job of entertaining us, as I’m sure they’ve done in the past. But our kids also stayed pretty focused on what the situation was with the game. We were told for the last two weeks on how good Houston was: ‘they beat No. 3 Oklahoma! They beat No. 4 Louisville!’ I mean, that’s a big-time football team and it was like we didn’t belong here. But I guess that was wrong.”

RB Donnel Pumphrey

On first quarter play…

“We just went through adversity, and that’s one of those things we had to stay together. Once we went down 10-0 we got it rolling and we were able to move the ball, once that second quarter came. The first quarter they came out with more intensity than we did, at least their defensive side of the ball. Our defense they played great the whole game, they kept us in it, and that’s all we could ask for on our side of the ball. We seen they were clogging the box and blitzing inside, so we were able to get to the edge. Our offense did a great job holding their blocks, and I was able to get the edge.”

On journey to 108 yards…

“It definitely wasn’t easy. They didn’t want me to break it against them. Our offensive line accepted the challenge. At first, they were controlling the line of scrimmage, and then our offensive line, they controlled the line of scrimmage from about the second quarter all the way to the rest of the game. Like I said, our defense, they did great, so it was easier for us to have the ball in our hands and able to keep running the ball.”

On journey to 108 yards…

“It definitely wasn’t easy. They didn’t want me to break it against them. Our offensive line accepted the challenge. At first, they were controlling the line of scrimmage, and then our offensive line, they controlled the line of scrimmage from about the second quarter all the way to the rest of the game. Like I said, our defense, they did great, so it was easier for us to have the ball in our hands and able to keep running the ball.”

On breaking the record…

“I’m honestly blessed to be around these guys right here and just to experience all this with my teammates and my family and my friends – it’s amazing. This is where it all started. Just to end my college career here, it’s amazing. I was more emotional when I broke the record, with my teammates, than I was with my family. It hit me at that point. Just to be able to celebrate with my teammates is amazing.”

On exact play that broke the record…

“Just that play, we were all on the sideline and coming out of a turnover and I just hear all the fans chanting, and all my teammates pumping me up. From that point on I was just trying to hit the outside. I thought I was gone but the guy had a good angle.”

On not being heavily recruited, going to San Diego State…

“San Diego State took a chance on me, and they’re a perfect fit for me. I’m just happy because I seen Ronnie Hillman run the ball just like I was. My uncle questioned me when I chose San Diego State because of the type of offense they ran and my size obviously. But coach (Jeff) Horton trusted me and coach (Rocky) Long trust me as well, and from that point on I just tried to take advantage of every opportunity. My offensive line – past and present – they did a hell of a job.”

On #CBA (Code Black Athletics)…

“We’ve all started a movement. We’re just trying to do great things for everybody. And that starts in school and helping the youth out. That’s what we’re all about, being student-athletes. These kids, they look up to us. We were once in their situation, looking up to a player, so we just try to be a role model to the youth.”

LB Calvin Munson

On seniors…

I’m sure I can speak for everybody, that’s a great way to end the year. That was a big challenge we had. I know everybody’s excited. That was (some) of the most fun I’ve ever had in a game, and I’m sure the same with DJ. We’re all excited for him, but we’re all excited for the team as well. Just the way we ended the year, with a Mountain West championship and a big bowl game like that. That was two of our goals and we accomplished both of them.

On defensive effort in 2nd half…

“Our defense, we feed off each other. We blitz a lot. Coach Long’s philosophy is to kind of get after their team get them on their heels. That’s what we did. Guys were making big plays, turnovers, we just kept feeding off of it. We had like three sacks in a row and guys were getting fired up. It was just a blast out there.”

On interceptions…

“They were moving it, they were marching downfield, their tempo was pretty fast, but the interceptions killed them. We just kept feeding off it. We were blitzing them from all sides, I felt like they started not being able to handle all the pressure and we started getting sacks and picks. It was a lot of fun, I had a blast out there.”

On getting Pumphrey the record…

“We’re just as fired up as he is. He’s a big-time competitor. All of our defensive guys hate him in practice, just cause he’s good, but he gets us better. Everything he’s done really helps our team. It’s a team goal. We’re stoked for him. I know it’s an individual accomplishment, but it’s a huge team accomplishment all thanks to him.”

Pumphrey Gets Rushing Record En Route To MVP Honors

 

Las Vegas, NV - December 17, 2016 - Sam Boyd Stadium: Donnel Pumphrey of the San Diego State University Aztecs during the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl (Photo by Gabriel Christus / ESPN Images)
(Photo by Gabriel Christus / ESPN Images)

By Jesse Lima special for the Las Vegas Bowl

The 2016 Rossi T. Ralenkotter Most Valuable Player Award went to Las Vegas native Donnel Pumphrey, who graduated from Canyon Springs High School in 2013. The San Diego State University running back broke the FBS all-time rushing record during the fourth quarter, passing Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne who previously held the record with 6,397 yards from 1996-99.

Storybook endings aren’t written much better than this. Pumphrey ended his decorated college career in front of his family and friends with a win, an all-time FBS record and an MVP honor.

The Aztecs, who finished as the Mountain West Conference Champions, overcame a 10-0 deficit early on and defeated the Houston Cougars, 34-10.

Pumphrey finished with 115 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown on a 32-yard scamper in the third quarter. He entered Saturday needing 108 rushing yards to break the record.

Early on, it looked like a longshot as during the first quarter, Pumphrey had -1 rushing yard on the stat sheet after being bottled up by a stifling Cougars’ defensive line.

“Those guys on the other side definitely did not want me to break the record,” Pumphrey said.  “After the first quarter, I started to find some space and my offensive linemen were ready for the task ahead.”

After the less-than-stellar first quarter, Pumphrey went for 116 yards on 12 carries the rest of the way. His record-breaking scamper came on the Aztecs’ first play from the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter. After the play, Pumphrey was mobbed on the sideline by his teammates.

“I heard all of the fans chanting and my teammates were all pumped up! I thought I was gone on the play, but then I got tackled.” Pumphrey said when talking about his record-breaking run.

On the other side of the ball, the Aztecs’ defense was led by freshman Ron Smith, junior Kameron Kelly, and senior Calvin Munson, who all finished with at least one interception. Smith finished with 10 tackles and returned his one interception to the end zone, Kelly finished with two interceptions, and Munson finished with eight tackles along with his one interception.

“We were all so pumped,” Munson said when talking about the seniors. “Finishing as the Mountain West Champs and the Las Vegas Bowl Champs is a great way to go out. It was a blast out there.”

“Coaches do not win games,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. “With great players like DJ (Pumphrey) and Calvin (Munson), all we have to do is make sure they’re in the right shape and they go out and do the rest.”

Donnel Pumphrey will now enter the 2017 draft along with a very stacked class of running backs but with the all-time FBS rushing record under his belt.

“I feel blessed to be able to end my college career where everything started.”

LAS VEGAS BOWL 25 NOTES

 

670x400-notesLAS VEGAS BOWL 25 NOTES (D. 17, 2016)

  • The 25th Las Vegas Bowl saw Mountain West champion San Diego State rally to score 34 unanswered points and defeat at-large team Houston 34-10
  • SDSU senior Donnel Pumphrey earned the Rossi T. Ralenkotter Most Valuable Player Trophy by rushing for 115 yards on 19 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown, and adding one reception for 26 yards. Pumphrey’s 126 yards tied for the 11th-most in Las Vegas Bowl history
  • The senior, who was playing in front of his hometown of Las Vegas for his final collegiate game, came into the day needing 108 yards to pass Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne as the leading rusher in college football history. His 115 yards gave Pumphrey a final total of 6,405
  • With the win, the Mountain West improved to 10-7 all-time in the Las Vegas Bowl but notched the first victory by a team from the league since Boise State downed Washington 28-26 in 2012
  • SDSU improved to 1-1 in the Las Vegas Bowl in its first appearance in the game since falling to North Carolina in 1998
  • Aztec head coach Rocky Long improved to 1-2 in the Las Vegas Bowl as he lost his first two trips while leading New Mexico in 2002 and 2003
  • Houston came into the game as an at-large selection and at-large teams fell to 4-3 at the Las Vegas Bowl. The Cougars were the first American Athletic Conference team and first Texas program to appear in the Las Vegas Bowl
  • The teams’ quarterbacks were both efficient with their passing as Greg Ward Jr. was third in Las Vegas Bowl history with a .735 clip (25 of34) while Christian Chapman ranked fourth with .714 (10-14). Chapman’s 14 attempts were the second-fewest for any Las Vegas Bowl team and his 10 completions tied for fourth-fewest
  • SDSU finished with seven sacks, which tied a Las Vegas Bowl record set by Nevada in 1996 when the Wolf Pack downed Ball State 18-15
  • Ward broke the LVB record for interceptions thrown with four, besting Tanner Mangum of BYU who threw three in 2015 vs. Utah
  • Ward tied BYU’s Max Hall for second place in a Las Vegas Bowl with 56 total plays and second with 286 all-purpose yards
  • SDSU PK John Baron made both of his field goal attempts to tie for fourth-most in LVB history
  • SDSU DB Ron Smith became the sixth person in LVB history to return an interception for a touchdown when he took it back 54 yards, which ranked as the third-longest in the event’s history
  • Houston tied for the seventh-fewest net offensive yards in a LVB with 254 while SDSU was ninth with 255
  • The teams combined for just five accepted penalties on the day. Houston tied the LVB record with just two while SDSU tied for fourth with just three. UH’s 10 penalty yards tied the bowl’s record set by Nevada in 1992 and Washington in 2012
  • The teams combined to go 5-5 in the red zone, including 3-3 by SDSU
  • The 25th Las Vegas Bowl saw Mountain West champion San Diego State rally to score 34 unanswered points and defeat at-large team Houston 34-10
  • SDSU senior Donnel Pumphrey earned the Rossi T. Ralenkotter Most Valuable Player Trophy by rushing for 115 yards on 19 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown, and adding one reception for 26 yards. Pumphrey’s 126 yards tied for the 11th-most in Las Vegas Bowl history
  • The senior, who was playing in front of his hometown of Las Vegas for his final collegiate game, came into the day needing 108 yards to pass Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne as the leading rusher in college football history. His 115 yards gave Pumphrey a final total of 6,405
  • With the win, the Mountain West improved to 10-7 all-time in the Las Vegas Bowl but notched the first victory by a team from the league since Boise State downed Washington 28-26 in 2012
  • SDSU improved to 1-1 in the Las Vegas Bowl in its first appearance in the game since falling to North Carolina in 1998
  • Aztec head coach Rocky Long improved to 1-2 in the Las Vegas Bowl as he lost his first two trips while leading New Mexico in 2002 and 2003
  • Houston came into the game as an at-large selection and at-large teams fell to 4-3 at the Las Vegas Bowl. The Cougars were the first American Athletic Conference team and first Texas program to appear in the Las Vegas Bowl
  • The teams’ quarterbacks were both efficient with their passing as Greg Ward Jr. was third in Las Vegas Bowl history with a .735 clip (25 of34) while Christian Chapman ranked fourth with .714 (10-14). Chapman’s 14 attempts were the second-fewest for any Las Vegas Bowl team and his 10 completions tied for fourth-fewest
  • SDSU finished with seven sacks, which tied a Las Vegas Bowl record set by Nevada in 1996 when the Wolf Pack downed Ball State 18-15
  • Ward broke the LVB record for interceptions thrown with four, besting Tanner Mangum of BYU who threw three in 2015 vs. Utah
  • Ward tied BYU’s Max Hall for second place in a Las Vegas Bowl with 56 total plays and second with 286 all-purpose yards
  • SDSU PK John Baron made both of his field goal attempts to tie for fourth-most in LVB history
  • SDSU DB Ron Smith became the sixth person in LVB history to return an interception for a touchdown when he took it back 54 yards, which ranked as the third-longest in the event’s history
  • Houston tied for the seventh-fewest net offensive yards in a LVB with 254 while SDSU was ninth with 255
  • The teams combined for just five accepted penalties on the day. Houston tied the LVB record with just two while SDSU tied for fourth with just three. UH’s 10 penalty yards tied the bowl’s record set by Nevada in 1992 and Washington in 2012
  • The teams combined to go 5-5 in the red zone, including 3-3 by SDSU

Houston to Face MW Champion San Diego State in 25th Las Vegas Bowl

LAS VEGAS – The University of Houston (9-3) has accepted an at-large invitation and will face Mountain West champion San Diego State (10-3) in the 25th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl, Executive Director John Saccenti announced Sunday. The game will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, at 12:30 p.m. PT, and aired on ABC.

The Cougars, who were ranked as high as No. 5 in the Coaches Poll this season, will fill the Pac-12 Conference spot in this year’s matchup. Houston, which became the first team in the nation this year to defeat two teams ranked in the top five (then-No. 3 Oklahoma and then-No. 3 Louisville), is the first member of the American Athletic Conference to be invited to play in the Las Vegas Bowl.

This marks the first year that the Las Vegas Bowl will feature a team from the state of Texas. Houston has played in Las Vegas once before as the Cougars defeated UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium in 1989.

“This is a special year for the Las Vegas Bowl and we have a special matchup to go with it on December 17,” Saccenti said. “Houston is one of college football’s most exciting teams and we are excited to be able to match the Cougars against a 10-win conference champion in San Diego State. It will be our first Texas team playing a program that hasn’t been in our game since 1998 so our entire city is looking forward to celebrating our 25th year with these two great programs and their fans.”

San Diego State earned its invitation on Saturday night after defeating Wyoming 27-24 in the MW Championship. This will mark just the third meeting between the Aztecs and Houston but the first since 1973. The Cougars lead the all-time series 2-0.

San Diego State, which Saturday avenged a regular-season loss to the Cowboys, will make its second appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl and the first since 1998 when it fell to North Carolina 20-13. The Aztecs are led by Las Vegas native and Canyon Springs High School graduate Donnel Pumphrey, who will come into the bowl needing 108 yards to surpass Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (6,397 in 1996-99) as college football’s all-time leading rusher.

Tickets for the 25th Las Vegas Bowl range in price from $45-$120, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com to purchase or for more information. PrimeSport, where fans can buy and sell official tickets with other fans, is the official ticket exchange provider of the Las Vegas Bowl. Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

The Las Vegas Bowl is one of 13 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Follow the Las Vegas Bowl on Twitter: @LasVegasBowl

Find the Las Vegas Bowl on Facebook: facebook.com/lvbowl

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football

AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational (Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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Las Vegas Bowl Contact: Mark Wallington at 702-528-6291 or mark.wallington@unlv.edu

ESPN Media Contact: Rachel Margolis Siegal at 860-766-2798 or rachel.m.siegal@espn.com

 

 

LAS VEGAS BOWL CELEBRATES KICKOFF OF RAISING CANE’S ANNUAL “DOLLAR DONATION” INITIATIVE BENEFITING GOODIE TWO SHOES

canes-doorLAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – From now through November 13, patrons of area Raising Cane’s franchises can help brighten the holidays of underprivileged children at a local elementary school with a “Dollar Donation” initiative.

The Las Vegas Bowl, which will celebrate its 25th game on December 17, staged its famous jeweled giant football at the restaurant’s St. Rose Parkway location to help kick off the two-week effort with a tagline “Small Change Makes a Big Difference.”

With player representatives from both of the bowl’s participating teams on hand to help, more than 900 children at C.P. Squires Elementary School in North Las Vegas will receive new shoes, socks and toys on their campus December 15.

MRG Marketing & Management Inc., Southwestern franchise partner of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, the Las Vegas Bowl and Goodie Two Shoes Foundation team up each year for the annual tradition that last year raised more than $32,000 at the Las Vegas Raising Cane’s restaurants.

canes-with-footballThe silver edition of the Las Vegas Bowl, which is owned by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET) at Sam Boyd Stadium and be televised live on ABC.

Tickets for Las Vegas XXV, which will feature the top choice from the Mountain West against a pick from the Pac-12 Conference, range in price from $35-$250, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com to purchase or for more information. Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

 

 

 

group-photo-raising-canescanes-exterior

LAS VEGAS BOWL ANNOUNCES SECOND HALL OF FAME CLASS

hof-graphic-2016

One Player, One Contributor and a Founder to be Honored this December

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 29, 2016) – The Las Vegas Bowl will help commemorate reaching the 25-year milestone by inducting a
class of three individuals into its Hall of Fame this December. The group, which was announced Thursday by the bowl’s Executive Director John Saccenti, will be made up of Marshawn Lynch (Player), Brent Musburger (Contributor) and Rob Dondero (Founding Father).

The Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the annual Kickoff Luncheon on Dec. 16 as well as at the game the following afternoon. The 25th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl, which is owned by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET) at Sam Boyd Stadium and be televised live on ABC.

Tickets for Las Vegas XXV, which will feature the top choice from the Mountain West against the sixth pick from the Pac-12 Conference, range in price from $35-$250, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com to purchase or for more information. Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

Dondero (R&R Partners, Inc., executive) helped make the game a reality a quarter-century ago and then see tremendous growth under his current leadership as president of the bowl’s committee; Lynch (California running back) was named Most Valuable Player in his 2005 appearance; and legendary broadcaster Musburger is a longtime supporter of the event while calling six editions of the bowl for ESPN and ABC.

“The 25th year is a special milestone for our game to reach and we have a special class of inductees to help us celebrate,” said Saccenti. “Rob Dondero has been here from the start and helped the bowl become the annual must-see event each December. Marshawn Lynch is one of the most accomplished players in our bowl’s history and Brent Musburger is a giant in the business who has been a proponent of this city and this bowl game for a long time.”

The Las Vegas Bowl Hall of Fame welcomes a class every five years but there is no time requirement to be eligible for induction. While there is no minimum or maximum amount of honorees in a class, inductees fall under the following categories: Player, Coach, Founding Father or Contributor.

The inaugural class featured Steven Jackson (Oregon State running back), Anthony Calvillo (Utah State quarterback), John Robinson (UNLV head coach) and Rossi Ralenkotter (founding father).

Follow the Las Vegas Bowl on Twitter: @LasVegasBowl
Find the Las Vegas Bowl on Facebook: facebook.com/lvbowl

ESPN Events 

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; 13 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football

AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston);Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama);Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Orlando, Fla.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.);St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards(Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off(Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan) and State Farm Champions Classic (New York City)

For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages.

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Las Vegas Bowl Media Contact: Mark Wallington at 702-528-6291 or mark.wallington@unlv.edu

LAS VEGAS BOWL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2016 BIOS

MR. MARSHAWN LYNCH

Running Back, University of California

Las Vegas Bowl XIV (Dec. 22, 2005)

A native of the Bay Area, Lynch helped hometown Cal to a 35-28 victory over BYU in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl while turning in one of the top offensive performances in the event’s history … Earned MVP honors after carrying the ball 24 times for 194 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Cougars … Also caught two passes for 27 yards … The 194 yards is the third-most in a Las Vegas Bowl and he is one of just six players to rush for at least three TDs in a game, which is one short of the bowl’s record of four set by two players … Opened the scoring with a three-yard run, gave Cal a 14-7 lead with a 23-yard scoring jaunt and then opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 35-yard touchdown … The following season he was a first team All-America selection and the 2006 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year … Selected in the first round (12th Overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills … Played nine total seasons in the NFL, including 2010-15 for the Seattle Seahawks … A five-time NFL Pro Bowl honoree (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) who twice led the NFL in touchdowns (2013, 2014) … Won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks when he finished with 39 yards and a rushing TD in the blowout victory over the Denver Broncos … Retired after rushing for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns as a pro.

MR. BRENT MUSBURGER

Play-By-Play Announcer, ESPN & ABC

Las Vegas Bowls X, XV, XIX, XXI, XXIII, XXIV

One of the most recognized and prominent voices in the history of sports television … Serves as a host and play-by-play commentator for multiple sports across ESPN and ABC … Has called six Las Vegas Bowls, which is the second-most for any play-by-play announcer … Primarily works college football and basketball game telecasts, highlighted by SEC Network beginning in 2014 and on ESPN’s Big 12 Big Monday college basketball games since the 2009-10 season … Previously called the Little League World Series from 2000-11 … Joined ABC in May 1990 after 15 years as CBS Sports’ primary host and play-by-play commentator, appearing on The NFL Today, the NCAA Final Four, tennis’ U.S. Open, the NBA and the Masters … Also hosted Super Bowl XXV’s pre-game and halftime shows as well as the 1991 Pan Am Games from Cuba … Has also been heard on ESPN Radio since 1992 … The Billings, Montana, native attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism before joining the Chicago American … His broadcast career began in 1968 as sports director at WBBM-TV in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles as co-anchor of the nightly news at KNXT-TV.

MR. ROB DONDERO

Founding Father

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Dondero would become one of his hometown’s biggest champions and currently serves as Executive Vice President of R&R Partners, Inc. … With a decades-long track record in the tourism industry, Dondero has had a hand in marketing world-class sporting events through his R&R Events division, including helping bring a college bowl game to town by securing the slot from the defunct California Raisin Bowl and moving the game to Southern Nevada in 1992 … Helped the game grow into a major economic boost for Southern Nevada each December while featuring teams from the Pac-12 Conference and Mountain West … Longtime President of the Las Vegas Bowl Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

LAS VEGAS BOWL LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

home-page-launchLAS VEGAS (Sept. 12, 2016) – The Las Vegas Bowl, which already debuted a special logo to celebrate its 25th game this season, on Monday launched an all-new website at lvbowl.com.

The site was designed and will be supported by Power On Marketing, a Florida-based company that is responsible for many of the online homes for ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

“Las Vegas is unquestionably one of the most exciting places in the world and visually we wanted to bring that out in our new website, and I think we did,” said Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director John Saccenti. “This new look is part of a really fun year for us celebrating the historic 25th edition of our bowl game.”

The 25th Las Vegas Bowl, which is now the 16th-oldest active postseason bowl game, will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. PT at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ABC, featuring the top choice from the Mountain West against the sixth pick from the Pac-12 Conference.

Tickets, on sale now, are priced ranging from $35-$250, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com to purchase or for more information.

Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the event’s eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

The Las Vegas Bowl is one of 13 FBS bowls owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Follow the Las Vegas Bowl on Twitter: @LasVegasBowl
Find the Las Vegas Bowl on Facebook: facebook.com/lvbowl

LAS VEGAS BOWL YOUTH FOOTBALL CLINIC AT UNLV BACK FOR EIGHTH YEAR

LAS VEGAS (July 29, 2016) – More than 500 kids were on hand as the Las Vegas Bowl hosted its eighth annual Youth

clinic-action-2Football Clinic presented by Terrible Herbst on July 29 on the UNLV campus.

Open to the public for kids age 6-14, the clinic ran from 9 a.m. to noon and was led by the UNLV football coaching staff, including second-year head coach Tony Sanchez, as well as some returning Rebel players who opened their own training camp on the very same fields the following week.

Boys and girls gathered at Bill “Wildcat” Morris Rebel Park where they went through multiple stations on Ernie Becker Sr. Football Fields as well as inside the Lied Athletic Complex. The day included a free commemorative T-shirt and complimentary lunch provided by Raising Canes.

A new feature this year was a free class taught during the event by the City of Henderson that covered heat dangers and proper hydration.

“We were excited to offer this fun experience again for kids in Southern Nevada,” said Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director John Saccenti. “Terrible Herbst and Raising Canes continue to make this possible with their generous support and of course we love having Coach Sanchez and his UNLV staff on hand for what has become a great tradition leading into football season.”

clinic-actionThe 25th Las Vegas Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. PT at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ABC, featuring the top choice from the Mountain West against the sixth pick from the Pac-12 Conference.

Tickets, which are on sale now, are priced ranging from $35-250, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com for to purchase or for more information.

Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

The Las Vegas Bowl is one of 13 FBS bowls owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Follow the Las Vegas Bowl on Twitter: @LasVegasBowl
Find the Las Vegas Bowl on Facebook: facebook.com/lvbowl

LAS VEGAS BOWL CELEBRATING 25TH YEAR WITH NEW LOGO

logo-vegas-1LAS VEGAS (July 26, 2016) – To kick off a celebration of its 25th year, the Las Vegas Bowl has released a special-edition logo that is as colorful and exciting as the city it calls home.

Inspired by the world-renowned signage that helped make Las Vegas famous, the new, shield-shaped logo features yellow, red, fuschia and light-blue neon tubing displayed over a black base framed in silver. Fittingly, the logo made its debut on the first day of the Mountain West Conference Media Days held on the Las Vegas Strip.

“As the Las Vegas Bowl reaches the significant milestone of 25 years, we wanted to introduce a logo that represents the community that makes up the world’s most exciting city,” said Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director John Saccenti.

The 25th Las Vegas Bowl, which is now the 16th-oldest active postseason bowl game, will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. PT at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ABC, featuring the top choice from the Mountain West against the sixth pick from the Pac-12 Conference.

Tickets, on sale now, are priced ranging from $25-$250, depending on location. Visit www.lvbowl.com to purchase or for more information.

Last year’s edition saw No. 22 Utah defeat BYU 35-28 in front of a crowd of 42,213, which marked the event’s eighth sellout in the last 11 years.

The Las Vegas Bowl is one of 13 FBS bowls owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Follow the Las Vegas Bowl on Twitter: @LasVegasBowl
Find the Las Vegas Bowl on Facebook: facebook.com/lvbowl