BYU to face Western Michigan in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
PROVO, Utah (Dec. 2, 2018) — BYU has accepted an invitation to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Western Michigan on Friday, Dec. 21 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
"We are excited to have been selected to play in a bowl game and for the opportunity to face a good Western Michigan team in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "Western Michigan is well-coached team, and we are looking forward to the challenge of preparing for the game and making a return trip to Boise.”
BYU will be making its first appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but the Cougars have already made one trip to Boise this season, falling to nationally ranked Boise State 21-16 on the blue turf. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has been played since 1997 and was formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl. Last year, Wyoming defeated Central Michigan in the Potato Bowl.
BYU is making the program’s 36th bowl appearance dating back to its first bowl game at the 1974 Fiesta Bowl. The Cougars have played in 18 different bowls in 11 different states.
Returning to bowl competition after a one-year hiatus, the Cougars have qualified for a bowl game in 13 of the last 14 seasons. In BYU’s last appearance, the Cougars defeated Wyoming 24-21 in the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego to complete a 9-4 season. With that victory, Coach Sitake is 1-0 in bowl games while BYU’s bowl record improved overall to 14-20-1.
BYU has played the Western Michigan Broncos out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, five times previously, with all five games coming between 1962 and 1970. The Cougars lead the overall series 3-2, with a perfect 2-0 record in Provo. The two teams have never met on a neutral field.
Western Michigan finished the 2018 season at 7-5 and second in the Mid-American Conference West Division. The Broncos capped their regular season off with a 28-21 win over the MAC champions, Northern Illinois, a team the Cougars fell to 7-6 earlier this year.
Western Michigan won the MAC title in 2016 and earned a bid to the Cotton Bowl with a perfect 13-0 record. The Broncos came up short to the Wisconsin Badgers 24-16 but finished at No. 15 in the final AP Poll and No. 17 in the Coaches Poll.
The Broncos began playing football in 1906 and have played in eight previous bowl games and won four conference titles. They have been members of the MAC since 1948. Western Michigan has one consensus All-American in its history and has an overall record of 562-446-24.
BYU finished the regular season 6-6 with a core of young, up-and-coming players teaming with key upperclassmen to navigate a difficult schedule featuring nine opponents that earned regular-season winning records. The Cougars played 26 freshmen throughout the year, including 17 true freshmen. Fourteen different freshmen started at least one game for a combined 69 starts during the season, including starts at quarterback, running back, offensive line, tight end, wide receiver, defensive line, defensive back and kicker.
The Cougars jumpstarted the season with a road win at Arizona while an upset of No. 6 Wisconsin in Madison two weeks later propelled the Cougars to back-to-back weeks in the top-25 rankings. Showing promise while striving for more consistency, BYU suffered close setbacks to MAC champion Northern Illinois, MW Mountain Division champion Boise State and Pac-12 South Division champion Utah in the second half of the season to split its final six matchups.
Led by senior linebacker Sione Takitaki, the Cougar defense proved to be a strong unit in 2018, ranking No. 19 nationally in total defense (325.0) by season’s end. The BYU offense employed the playmaking abilities of true freshman quarterback Zach Wilson as the starter the second half of the season and despite key injuries at running back produced a strong run game that averaged 230.3 rushing yards in the final three contests.
Tickets are on sale at BYUtickets.com or by calling 801-422-2981. As all tickets purchased through BYU directly benefit the athletic department, BYU is encouraging Cougar Nation to purchase tickets through BYUtickets.com and the BYU Ticket Office.
Great seats are available in the BYU fan sections. Tickets will be priced from $15 for group end zone to $60 for sideline under the cover. Orders placed by December 4th will be assigned in the priority seating process. Seats ordered before December 4th will be assigned by Cougar Club level, priority points within the membership level if applicable, and then by date of purchase. After December 4th, seats will be assigned as you purchase.
Sideline seats under cover, rows M through V are $60, while the remaining sideline seats are $50 with tickets for groups of 10 or more available for $45 and pricing for groups of 20 or more $40. Corner seats are $30 and $25 for groups of 10 and $20 for groups of 20 or more. End zone tickets are $20 and $15 for groups of 10 or more.
BYU football wrapped up its first week of fall camp with its fifth practice on Saturday morning.