Bronco football earns bid to Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, to play BYU in Boise
KALAMAZOO, Mich (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - For the fourth time in the last five years, Western Michigan football is going bowling.
WMU (7-5, 5-3 MAC) has earned a bid to battle BYU (6-6 Independent) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The game will take place on December 21st at 4:00 P.M. on the blue turf of Boise State.
"(I'm) excited for our team, our seniors," WMU head coach Tim Lester said on Sunday, just prior to the Broncos' annual banquet. "They've had a good year, and to have the chance to go to a bowl game is special, especially one like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl."
The bowl game (formerly the Humanitarian Bowl, among others) has been around since 1997. It will be the second time WMU has played in it, with the Broncos losing to Air Force at the end of the 2014 season.
"It's one of the best bowls, from what I've heard from other people, as far as they take care of you," Lester said. "It's a beautiful town, and we're excited to get the extra practices with the young kids, too."
The bowl berth was not a sure thing. Entering the final game of the regular season, WMU sat at 6-5 and needed a win at home against rival Northern Illinois to solidify its standing. The Broncos responded, beating the Huskies 28-21, and gaining a huge chunk of momentum heading to the postseason (NIU would go on to win the MAC by coming back against Buffalo).
There are still members of WMU's current team that played in that game back in 2014.
"We played there about four years ago now for me," senior running back Jamauri Bogan said. "It was a very special place. We didn't finish, and (Lester) talked about that today...we have a lot of unfinished business when we get out there."
WMU will be making its ninth bowl game appearance in school history. With a win, the Broncos would clinch their eighth win of the season, accomplishing the feat for the fourth time in the last five years as well (2014, 2015, 2016).
The game will be televised on ESPN.