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Tulsa OKs Invite To Face BYU In Armed Forces Bowl

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DALLAS (AP) — Tulsa accepted an invitation Sunday to play BYU in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30.

The Golden Hurricane (8-4) have won seven of their last eight games. They finished second in the Conference USA’s West Division behind 20th-ranked Houston, which was undefeated before losing in the C-USA championship game Saturday.

BYU (9-3), which is wrapping up a season of football independence, officially accepted its invitation two weeks ago. The Cougars had been granted a provisional invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl in April, as long as they were bowl eligible.

Tulsa’s losses this season came against third-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 8 Boise State, No. 19 Oklahoma and Houston.

This will be the Golden Hurricane’s second Armed Forces Bowl. They lost 25-13 to Utah in 2006, but have won their last three bowl games at the GMAC (2008-09) and Hawaii (2010) bowls.

“Selfishly, we’re excited to be going to the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said. “I think it gives us an opportunity to engage our fan base and the timing couldn’t be better. Fans will have time to celebrate a little holiday time and then finish that up with a Friday morning Bowl game.”

The two schools have met seven times previously, with BYU holding a 6-1 edge. Tulsa’s only win was a 55-47 victory when the schools last faced each other in 2007.

The Cougars and Golden Hurricane have combined to average 73.3 points in their meetings, and once again they both feature capable offenses this season. Tulsa is 24th in the country in total offense (454.4), while BYU isn’t far behind in 41st (410.8).

“We’re excited to host Tulsa for the second time,” Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler said. “Coach Blankenship’s team features an exciting brand of football, and the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl should be high-scoring, featuring two of the nation’s top offenses.”

The game will be the seventh consecutive bowl appearance for BYU under coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Cougars defeated Texas-El Paso 52-24 in the New Mexico bowl.

This season, BYU has won eight of its last nine games — including three in a row after a 41-20 win at Hawaii on Saturday.

The Cougars had two regular-season games in Texas. They lost both, at Texas in September and against former Mountain West Conference rival TCU at Cowboys Stadium in October.

Central Florida was the lone common opponent this season for Tulsa and BYU, and both defeated the Knights 24-17.

Army defeated SMU 16-14 in last season’s Armed Forces Bowl, which has seen some of the top offensive showcases since its inception in 2003. Boise State defeated TCU 34-31 in the inaugural game. Air Force played in the game three straight years from 2007-09, including a 42-26 loss to Cal, a 34-28 loss to Houston and a 47-20 win over Houston a year later in 2009.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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