Going bowling

Ohio junior tight ends Ryan (88) and Adam (44) Luehrman lead the Bobcats on to the field at Peden Stadium behind school mascot Rufus (on the motorcycle) prior to Ohio’s home win over Kent State on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

BOISE, Idaho — The Bobcats made the cut, and as a reward will return to the site of their first postseason success.

Ohio (6-6) accepted an invitation to play in the 23rd annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Sunday. The Bobcats will square off against Nevada (7-5) in the game, to be held on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

OU’s appearance in Boise will be the second time the Bobcats have played in the event. Ohio won its first-ever bowl victory with a 24-23 win over Utah State in the 2011 edition of the Potato Bowl.

“We’ve been at that bowl before. We were treated great. The people there were amazing. Our guys had a great deal of fun,” said Ohio 15th-year head coach Frank Solich in a written statement.

“We were able to combine all that with a win. We have nothing but good memories and are looking forward to being there again.”

Ticket information is expected to be released on Monday, Dec. 9.

The Potato Bowl, as is usually the case, will represent a clash between the Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West Conference. The MAC has had a representative in the bowl in nine of the last 10 years, and the MWC has appeared in the game in five of the last six.

Nevada finished third in the MWC West Division (4-4) under third-year head coach Jay Norvell. The Wolf Pack won three straight games to secure bowl eligibility before losing its regular-season finale, 33-30 in overtime to rival UNLV, on Nov. 30.

The bowl game will be the 13th in program history for Ohio, with 11 in the last 14 years under Solich. The Bobcats will be playing in a bowl game for the fifth year in a row, and have won postseason exhibitions in both 2017 and ’18. A third straight bowl win would tie OU with Toledo (1969-71) and Miami (1973-75) for the most consecutive bowl wins in conference history.

Ohio won, 41-6, over UAB in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl, and last year posted a 27-0 shutout — the first in MAC history — over San Diego State in the DXL Frisco Bowl.

As a conference, the MAC had a record eight teams reach bowl eligibility this season. On Sunday, the MAC tied a conference record by getting seven of them into bowl games.

Only Toledo (6-6) was left out of a bowl game. Of 79 bowl eligible teams across the country, the Rockets were the only team not to receive a bowl bid for one of the 78 spots.

The MAC’s seven bowl invitations tie the league’s record for one season, set in both 2012 and ’15. As a conference, the MAC has recorded just two wins in the last three bowl seasons — both by Ohio.

The MAC’s 2019-20 bowl season schedule is as follows:

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

Dec. 20, 2 p.m. (ESPN) — Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5, C-USA)

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) — Kent State (6-6) vs. Utah State (7-5, MWC)

New Mexico Bowl

Dec. 21, 2p.m. ET (ESPN) — Central Michigan (8-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3, MWC)

Quick Lane Bowl

Dec. 26, 8 p.m. (ESPN) — Eastern Michigan (6-6) vs. Pitt (7-5, ACC)

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN) — Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Western Kentucky (8-4, C-USA)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Jan. 3, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) — Ohio (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5, MWC)

LendingTree Bowl

Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) — Miami (8-5) vs. Louisiana (10-3, Sun Belt)

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Jason Arkley is a journalist for The Athens Messenger.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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