FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 2, 2018) – The Houston Cougars and Army West Point Black Knights have officially accepted invitations to play in the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The winner of the game will be the first ever to win the Armed Forces Bowl three times.
The 16th edition of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 22, at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT (3:30 p.m. ET).
“We are extremely excited to have the University of Houston and United States Military Academy in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl this year,” Executive Director Brant Ringler said. “These programs are first class and have brought us some of the most memorable moments in our 16-year history. We will never forget the excitement that the Cougars gave everyone the last time they played in the game, and we are honored to host Army West Point for a second straight year and to have a service academy playing in the game for the 10th time in the past 12 years.”
Houston (8-4, 5-3 American Athletic) enters the game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at 46.4 points per game. The Cougars, who tied for first place in the American Athletic Conference’s West Division, topped the 40-point plateau in 10 games, the most by any team in the country. In addition, the squad ranks seventh nationally in total offense (528.6 yards per game).
Houston will be playing in its 27th all-time bowl game and sixth straight, which is the best streak in program history, and the longest active string in The American.
It is the fifth time that the Cougars will play in the Armed Forces Bowl, which matches Air Force for the most appearances. In its last appearance, the Cougars recorded the biggest comeback in any bowl game ever (trailing by 25 points with 11 minutes left) to defeat Pittsburgh, 35-34, in January of 2015.
Major Applewhite is in his second season at the helm of the program after being named head coach on Dec. 9, 2016. He owns a 15-10 (.600) overall record, and previously directed the Cougars in both the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl and 2017 Hawaii Bowl.
Army (9-2) will look to become the first team in Armed Forces Bowl history to win back-to-back titles, and is just the third ever to play in the game two years in a row, joining Air Force (2007-09) and Houston (2008-09). In addition, Army is making its third straight bowl appearance for the first time in program history.
Army has won seven straight games, and its last loss came in overtime, 28-21, at College Football Playoff semifinalist Oklahoma. Army ranks second in the nation in rushing at 303.0 yards per game (4.7 yards per carry) and leads the NCAA in time of possession at 39 minutes per game.
This will mark the program’s eighth all-time bowl appearance. Army is 5-2 in postseason games, and all seven have been decided by a touchdown or less. Last year’s win in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl came when the team scored 14 points in the final 18 seconds to defeat San Diego State, 42-35.
Jeff Monken is in his fifth year as head coach of the Black Knights. Over the past three years, Army West Point is 27-10 (.730), including 19-5 in the past 24 games. Against Navy on Saturday, Army will be seeking to claim the Commander in Chief’s Trophy outright two years in a row for the first time since the trophy was established in 1972.
The two teams have played seven times previously, all from 1998-2004, with Houston winning five of the seven matchups. Both teams have been ranked this season in the nation’s top 25, with the Cougars being listed as high as 17th nationally during the year, while the Black Knights are currently No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
“This promises to be an exciting matchup between two talented, well-coached teams,” Ringler said. “We are looking forward to welcoming both programs and their great fans to Fort Worth in two weeks.”
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams–Air Force five times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015), Army three times (2010, 2017, 2018) and Navy (2013, 2016). The game has been ranked the No. 3 bowl game by CBSSports.com each of the past two years.
The annual game has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.
Tickets range from $30 for general admission seating to $75 for lower bowl reserved seats. A limited number of seats are also available in the exclusive Champions Club located on the west side of the stadium. At $125, these tickets include premium seating, complimentary food and beverages, and access to the inside of the club level.
The matchup will be televised nationally on ESPN. It also will be aired in both English and Spanish on the Armed Forces Bowl Radio Network.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN.