Ball State Selected for 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (December 2, 2012)– Ball State, which is riding a six-game winning streak, has accepted a bid to the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg. The Cardinals will face the Conference USA East Division Champion UCF Knights in the fifth edition of the ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, owned bowl gamefrom Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
The Cardinals, from the Mid-American Conference (MAC), filled a slot for the BIG EAST, which didn’t have enough teams to fulfill its bowl commitments. Ball State will be the first-ever MAC team to play in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg.
“Ball State is a hot team right now, winning six straight, including a road win over conference foe Toledo, which was ranked in the Top 25 at the time,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg. “We look forward to providing a great bowl week experience for the team and their fans.”
“Ball State University is very excited to participate in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg,” said Bill Scholl, Director of Athletics for Ball State. “We have heard great things about this bowl and are sure it will be an enjoyable experience for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans from all over the country. Ball State’s football program is proud to represent the Mid-American Conference at the bowl, and we are looking forward to the event.”
Ball State (9-3, 6-2 MAC) scored 30 or more points in 10 of its 12 games this season, including a season-high 52 points in a win over Ohio on November 14. A total of 13 members of the Ball State football team were honored by the Mid-American Conference, including five first-team selections. Among the first team selections is sophomore WRWillie Snead (Belle Glade, FL), who pulled in a team-best 82 receptions for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns. Snead ranks fourth on Ball State’s record book in both receptions and receiving yards in a single season.
Head Coach Pete Lembo, who is in his second year with the Cardinals, took over a four-win squad following the 2010 season, and led the program to its most wins since 2008.
“Our football program is extremely pleased to be representing the Mid-American Conference at the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg,” said Lembo. “We have had an outstanding season, and are looking forward to allowing the fans of Florida and our fans across the country to see our exciting team. This is an honor for our football program and our university, and our fans and alum are excited about the invitation.”
The Cardinals are making their first bowl appearance since 2008 when they played Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl. Ball State has played in seven bowls and is seeking its first bowl win in its history.
This will be the fourth meeting between Ball State and UCF. All three meetings took place while UCF was a member of the MAC (2002-04). The Cardinals, which own a 2-1 series advantage, scored a come-from-behind 21-17 win at home in the last matchup on November 13, 2004.
Tickets for the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg are on sale now and start as low as just $35. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Fans can enjoy the pregame festivities in The Miller Lite Party Deck, the only on-field hospitality village in all of professional or college football. Fans can sit right behind the team bench and hear all of the hard- hitting action. It will be the only Beef ‘O’ Brady’s location where fans can literally be in the huddle and still enjoy all the food and beverage served at this premiere event. For tickets in The Miller Lite Party Deck, fans may contact Carlos Padilla at 727-290-9865 for more information.